@lycia: There is one thing I found of interest in what you had to say. "Also Lara is right that if the decline of our society somehow did occur, we would notice it and do something about it very quickly before it even became an issue."
What exactly do you, or Lara who you say is the originator this 'very quick' solution have in mind to "very quickly" create the necessary offspring from women who do not want to have babies? Several countries would benefit greatly from this 'very quick' solution you are both banging on about, and I too am curious what measures, incentives, rules, regulations or laws you would implement to entice or force women to 'very quickly' start cranking out 3,4,5,or 6 kids each.
Canada has tried bribing the barren, or lesbian, or the child averse to put their woman bits to use to increase the fertility rate & I believe I read that Korea pays people to have babies on a sliding scale up to $18000 for the 4th or 5th kiddy, but even that is not having much of an effect so do enlighten all and sundry to this hand waving magic trick of transforming the unfruitful into those who will come forth and multiply.
I myself would only be in favor of measures which women would consent to like perhaps the government sponsoring monthly free-for-all orgies & supplying all the lube & viagara to for free & then paying perhaps $25 thousand to the mothers for each child beyond the second, or maybe trying to convince Catholic Nuns to put their disused uterus' and unsucked upon tits to some practical demographic purpose by consenting to their voluntary debauchery, but I am not very imaginative so you will no doubt have the better and quicker plan. What is this something that would be done quickly to cause females to start having multiple babies again instead of the miserly odd few youngsters they begrudgingly bear now?
Do you suggest outlawing Abortion? Legalizing rape? Banning lesbianism or requiring all lesbians to get themselves pregnant or have the government offer to do it for them through artificial implantation at some reasonable fee? Perhaps you would be in favor of banning the sale, purchase, possession or use of Birth Control pills & Condoms under penalty of law until the fertility rate issue was redressed.
Maybe you would be in favor of a law proscribing that all females from 16 years on must be pregnant every year uptill they reach some number of offspring, lets say 9 kids or so, or until their bodies are physically used out or until such time as the demographic deficit is adequately reversed.
I don't know what else you may be thinking of. It would be less than ethical to use incarcerated females or females housed in mental facilities as hosts for implanted embryos unless you could convince them to willingly sign a consent waiver, which they might just accede to do if bribed with early release from prison, some cold hard cash & maybe some drugs thrown is as a deal sweetener in the case of the felons, & in the case of those females confined under the mental health act, perhaps cotton candy or coloring books might make the feeble minded more agreeable to volunteering to have a brood of youngsters for king an country but I just hope that wouldn't be on your list of measures.
I really don't know what it would take to get the Western woman to at least start having enough children to maintain a stable population or actually increase the population a little and help stave off the geopolitical dis-balancing Muslim demographic tsunami which Mark Steyn in his book "America Alone" suggests is about to engulf the world in a handful of generations from now.
You think Ratzinger is wrong about this as if it was I myself who wrote the book 'America Alone'. I did not write it, but merely read it, and paraphrased some of it here, so if you too have have read it then by all means say that Steyn is wrong about the
@J. Ratzinger Wow, that is one huge (odd) rant going there.
Coming from the highly-populated area of San Jose, California, USA and now living in the less populated area of Quebec, Quebec, Canada let me tell you something; less people is wonderful!
We have cleaner air, lower crime rates (and less scary crime at that) at the expense of slightly higher prices. Wildlife thrives (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biodiversity for why that's important) and the people do too.
Higher population density is not a good thing. Look at the Middle East. For the amount of resources they have, their population is pretty high. Resources are at a premium. Thus, you have a lot of war in that region and need a very rigid law system to keep people in line. But the people themselves don't exactly have an enviable life. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrying_capacity for great info on population vs. resources.
Humans are in no danger of dying out anytime soon. Our (western) culture is creeping across the globe, and the only way for every human to enjoy this typical American/Canadian level of luxury is for there to be less people. Or for us to start combing space for materials/habitable areas, which is unlikely to happen anytime soon.
Technology is our biggest population crutch, but even that relies on limited materials. So far, we have managed to advance our technology quickly enough to overstep the crunch of overpopulation. If we can keep doing that, and at what cost, remains to be seen.
I doubt we will need to pay people to propagate at any point. If we have more resources, we will have more kids. That's what always happens. Immigration helps in a number of ways, and as the kids brought or born here will be within the school systems, they too will grow up with the western culture. We have the luxury of having fewer children and not having to see them die of starvation or simple disease.
I feel bad that so much of the non-western world is being cared for by the Catholics & other missionaries who refuse to offer birth control. They push an emphasis on human life without actually being able to make that life is livable. Hopefully as the countries develop and gain education, this too shall change.
(continued, because I am too wordy for the space allowed here)...
as the Koran commands all Muslims to do, which is to make Islam the only religion in the world.
The benefits you see by keeping Canada and other Western countries relatively free of people for the sake of global air quality and the like is not shared by our Muslim counterparts who are doing their best to have 5, 6, or 8 earth destroying kids each, so our restraint is being counterbalanced and overbalanced by Muslims. I understand that just because they have many kids is no reason for us to make matters globally worse by adding lots more, however since Muslims are having so many children and you want to keep the global population low, then what is to be done. Would you be in favor of Western governments paying women to not even have the few measly kids they do have now. Governments could I suppose provide women who do want a family with puppies as a substitute for children, and heavily fine any woman who dares befoul the earth further with more of those damnable, earth polluting little Western society humans. If Muslims keep their fertility rates high some environmentalist may even suggest that for the sake of the planet we here in the enlightened West should do even more to keep global population low, and may suggest we force Western women to have abortions, or that possibly we should euthanize the elderly in the West in order to keep the absolute global numbers down. I would be against such measures how about you?
They have kids because they don't have access to birth control and medical attention. The same as those being "converted" in Africa by the Catholics.
Islam takes the place of law in resource poor or overpopulated areas. It dies out in nicer places. Canada has a decent Muslim population, but they tend to be a lot more moderate.
A lot of the kids born here identify as "Muslim" but seem to be more spiritualists; maybe they don't want to be isolated from their parents/community, but it doesn't seem to be genuine zealotry.
Education and education with a side of education are the best ways to weed out religion. All religion.
@Kirsten Reis: You seem to have completely avoided Demographic problem. If you think you will be penalized for using more words than you just did to attempt to adequately explain the points you want to make, I can assure you that while others here may fall asleep, at least I will not complain. I have taken my daily multivitamin, and am not anemic nor too tired to read whatever you have to say, so please respond to the issues, and use as many words as necessary, even big words if you like, because I have ready access to a dictionary and will just look things up if necessary or ask my big sister to help me.
I am interested in this perspective which some people seem to be advocating, that they are willing to sacrifice themselves, and forgo polluting, and burdening and over taxing the planet with their own offspring for the sake of allowing other people who do not have a societal death wish to replace them with their own broods children.
It is so refreshing & nice of people like yourself to offer your seat on the (Earth) bus to a culture which is repressive of women, repressive of gays, repressive of freedom of speech, and freedom of thought, and so very suppressive of other religious and philosophical views such as Atheism.
II believe I understand your position to be that we cannot demand that Muslims reduce their fertility rate, so all that can be done if concerned people want to keep the total world population stable or lower it, is to reduce our own fertility rate to compensate for those who have lots of kids. Is that why you want Canada & other Western countries to stop paying women to at least breed to the level (@2.1) which as I understand it, is the replacement rate which would sustain our population?
I didn't use all my comment space, so I will donate the unused electrons & space back to you.
@Everyone: Including you Lara. I am getting a sense that there is some hostility in some of the posts in this thread or if it's not outright hostility, then there is at least a certain degree of unfriendliness in our discussions, which I find to be unfortunate and unnecessary. Sure we may disagree on any of the points and have our own divergent opinions, but that's no reason for us to allow this to degenerate into what seems to be bordering on almost personal attacks upon each other..
Neither you, or I can personally do anything really substantial to affect the global population on our own, so whether Mark Steyn is right or wrong in his book, (I don't know) our personalized bickering over it won't amount to a hill of beans when it's all said & done so lets not take these matters so seriously.
It occurs to me that whether you or I and the few other Atheists decide to have 6 children or none at really won't have any meaningful effect on global demographics nor will our tiny personal breeding decision harm or help the planet much one way or the other, because we are only a few, and the religious hordes are the many, so there's no need for us to become bad friends over this nonsense at all. We Atheists should stick together.
In an effort to mend fences, let me be the first to say I do not hold anything against you ladies, and am willing to forgive and forget all past ill-tempered words exchanged between us in heated debate. And just to prove to you that I am serious about making up, I urge you to keep my standing offer in mind. Should either of you fine Atheist ladies ever feel the urge to procreate be it in reaction to some perceived demographic deficit panic or merely in response to that ticking sound you hear in the still of the night as your biological clock winds down to zero, then feel free to call upon me if you are in need of half the necessary ingredients with which to start the bun baking process. I would do my best to help you out in that regard as long as you clear it first with your husband, boyfriend, or lesbian lover because I would not want to come between you uninvited.
Ok wait a minute, I just rethought the above offer. I am a modern man, a feminist who believes in the equality and right to self-direction for every competent adult woman to make her own decisions in life without first having to get the permission of a man, so forget my earlier requirement for clearance from your husband, boyfriend or whatever before we bonk, because if you are ok with it, then who am I to tell you no.
As an added incentive to sway your decision should you be on the fence, I promise not to talk, talk, talk, talk during the insemination process because I know that banging on with 5000 words of essentially sweet nothings when a few choice four letter words, accompanied by simple grunts and some moderately applied ass slaps will say all that needs to be said tends to put some women off, so no worries about that.
Relax now ladies, you know some of the above was merely a joke to lighten things up a little.
@Mr. Ratzinger: Hear, hear!
At the feminist ladies: What's the opposite of being a feminist?
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