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May 26, 2012

The Links Between Religion And Babies

h/t Kevin

Posted by Kate at May 26, 2012 10:20 AM
Comments

"Family Planning". Is that talking about abortions?

We have aborted over 40 million children since Wade vs Roe back in the 70's.

Basically Canada wouldn't exist today.

That's family planning?

Posted by: johnbrooks at May 26, 2012 10:37 AM

Really excellent lecture and analysis. Thanks.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 11:05 AM

Fascinating! Have to think about this before making a comment.

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at May 26, 2012 11:06 AM

Hmmm...very interesting, but...

Mark Steyn in his book "America Alone" would beg to differ.

In his analysis, it is the "Christian" Western nations that are below the 2.1 child per family that will not be able to sustain their population presence/ratio in their own countries.

Just from observation, I would concur with him that the demographic shift in well on its way here in Canada. Our replacement rate is 1.48 child per family, if I remember correctly.

Posted by: Frank Q. at May 26, 2012 11:46 AM

If religion has nothing to do with it, then why are a lot of those Christian countries that he was talking about going to be Muslim countries before we hit 10 Billion?

Posted by: Steve at May 26, 2012 11:46 AM

frank q- I think the fertility rate per woman is 1.6 children. That's essentially 2, and statistically deals with those women who have no, one, three or more children.

What is interesting about the argument is that, apart from the view that religion has no bearing on demographics, is that the economy is the key factor in family size. When children are no longer malnourished and will survive, when they are no longer used as basic labour in peasant farming then birth rates drop. And when women gain the freedom of education and allowed to enter the industrial work force - then birth rates drop.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 12:02 PM

I thought that one (1) person in the first world was supposed to use the resources and pollute the environment like an entire small village in the third world.

Now they want to take the bulk of the world’s population which is poor and develop them into first world eaters and polluters, an exponential increase in resource usage and pollution.

Allot of hypocritical mixed messages me thinks.

Posted by: Knight 99 at May 26, 2012 12:11 PM

One of the factors frequently overlooked is that probably muslim fertility in Eurabia is an aberation.

IMHO the main driver for Iran's ambition to get nuclear weapons is fear not aggression....Iran's fertility rate has long since dropped below the replacement rate. They deem nukes necessary just to survive. They look about and think "enemies, enemies everywhere"...perhaps justifiably........

IMHO anybody who thinks they understand has not been properly briefed.......

Posted by: sasquatch at May 26, 2012 12:21 PM

Hi there ET.

I do not disagree with your thoughts about children being used as basic labour and the effect of the economy on the rate of birth etc.

You may also be correct about the birth rate in Canada being 1.6 however, Steyn's point is that anything less than 2.1 will result in a decline of that groups ratio in the total, within 2 generations.

There are certain parts of the general population in Canada, whose rates are over 3 and 4 children per family and those groups can quickly become the dominant demographic within the same period as the Western groups decline.

That's my understanding of what he says, for what it's worth.

Posted by: Frank Q. at May 26, 2012 12:31 PM

Couple of things:

Family planning is not code for abortion - it means access to contraception, not always easy in the 3rd world.

Replacement rate is usually considered about 2.1 babies per woman (this replaces mommy, daddy, and a bit left over to account for barren, unmarried, or gay women, and all the kids who die before they are able to have children); many Western countries' white populations are below this level, hence Steyn's American Alone.

As Rosling mentioned, the keys to lower birthrates are increased income overall, and increased education for women in particular. Twain noted "Soap and education are not as sudden as a massacre, but they are more deadly in the long run." That is why demographic trends need to be considered carefully.

Quebec is the perfect example. From the 20's to early 60's, it wasn't unusual for French (i.e. Catholic) Quebeckers to have 5,6, or more children. (My dad worked summers for a French farming family in the Eastern Townships; they had 11 kids.) English (i.e. Protestant) families were much smaller. Dubbed by some la revanche de la chreche, this trend over two generations gave the French political superiority in Quebec. But once that was achieved (and the twin effects of greater access to education and the Church's diminished influence), what happened to French birthrates in Quebec? They plummeted to the lowest in Canada.

I suspect, as their daughters are assimilated into Canadian society, we will see a similar decline in muslim birthrates in Canada (and other Western countries). Steyn makes the common mistake of projecting a trend indefinitely into the future; the 3% of Canada's population that is Muslim today may reach 6% (depending on immigration policy), but I don't think we have to worry about becoming a Sharia state.

Most interesting, I thought, was the idea that the world's population would plateau around 10 billion. Of course, that has Fruitfly frothing, but could the world support that many? I suspect it can.

And I still think the animated chart showing birthrate, country, religion, and income level versus time was brilliant!

Posted by: KevinB at May 26, 2012 12:32 PM

Interesting topic and interesting TED presentation. I agree with Kevin B's post about "the common mistake of projecting a trend indefinitely into the future". In the macro level the impact of religious groups who have even 2-3x the average family size will have very little impact because these religious groups comprise a low percentage of the population as a whole. But there is another dynamic - the micro level effects of more fertile religious groups. One group can have a disproportionate effect on a local community.

For instance, the small community I live in has a fertility cult masquerading as fundamentalist sect of a mainstream Christian religion. They take to "go forth and multiply" advice very seriously, families with kids in the double-digits are not unusual.

Now, in just two or three generation this has made a substantial difference in the community, especially the school. It is common for this group's children to be a third or more of each classroom. As they grow up they will have significant voting power and, theoretically, be able to control the town council. Fortunately, they are a very mild-mannered group so, except for the occasional Children of the Corn(ish) preaching to fellow students about evolution, they are not a radical bunch. But if I begin to see strange movement in the grain fields, I am so outta here.

Posted by: LC Bennett at May 26, 2012 12:59 PM

Review this video. China drops like a stone without added income. Just a birth policy with labor camps. They're big on women's rights too. The right to be thrown right in the trash before taking a first breath.

This is a 'just so' story. Lots of inconvenient truths overlooked here. The video also fails to appreciate the effect of secularization within the dominant religion. Qatar is a good example.

Interesting refutation here: http://www.d.umn.edu/~okuhlke/Fall%202006%20Classes/GEOG%203762%20Europe/Readings/Week%2013%20-%20Demography/EUdemogr1.pdf

The audience's entertained response was weird. Grinning idiots, or, more than likely, manipulated sound and footage sequencing.

In short... snake oil sociology.

Posted by: ∞ ≠ ø at May 26, 2012 1:07 PM

I would like to see the relative size of the countries change as the population changes. Relition may not determine number of babies, but the size of the country at the start of the measured period will change over time and the relative mix of populations with a given religion has changed in the last 50 years and will change during the "great fill up" too.

What will be the relative size of the religions when there are 10 Billion people? What will be their share of the wealth?

Posted by: rroe at May 26, 2012 1:11 PM

"The audience's entertained response was weird."

yeah, it was a little odd. Was an interesting short lecture but didn't find myself getting all giddy like that at any point.

Posted by: ChrisinMB at May 26, 2012 1:27 PM

infinity - what are the 'inconvenient truths' that were overlooked?

The basic variables were two, in the form of a question: does religion affect birth rate? Answer - does not seem to do so.

The variables he was positing are economic: movement out of peasant economic sustenance into a modern economy reduces the birth rate.

Now, this might also affect the nature of the religion (fundamental vs reform) but this was not the focus of his analysis.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 1:43 PM

He does not take into consideration social movements , Political movements or the like. Disease which have become antibiotic Resistant that are re-emerging with a vengeance.Nor does he include World wars.
Major catastrophes as well.
Its a paper calculation. We all know how those turn out. That population is going down is a sound premise,but for how long, with what consequences?

I agree. I found the audiences response creepy.

Posted by: Revnant Dream at May 26, 2012 1:58 PM

The appeal to religion in reference to these issues is a bit of a red herring -- a way for the Left to exclusively blame religion for all of the "social ills" that the Left perceives. Or conversely for religious people, it's a way of attributing all correct moral behaviour to religion.

Humans established big families long before institutionalized religion came on the scene. They also established natural social-biological families (e.g. versus “Gay” political-ideological families) long before religion. And except under extreme environmental conditions they normally didn’t abort babies or euthanize the elderly -- a million years before organized religion could have the slightest influence on these decisions.

Organized religion later simply codified and built on moral practices that were already part of the natural condition of human survival and functional human society. The Left's idea that "a bunch of misogynistic old men" sat down one day and decided to invent religious rules so they could "oppress" everyone is utter nonsense, and is not borne out by the anthropological record of human history.

Religion should neither shoulder all the blame, nor take all the credit, for a moral code that has been written on "the tablets of our hearts" or our consciences from when humans first appeared on earth. When societies have departed from that naturally intuitive moral code, they have failed-- with or without the presence of a religion that interprets the code.

Posted by: ricardo at May 26, 2012 2:11 PM

Interesting analysis, but he doesn't deal with the issue of subgroups within the religions. in Israel, Orthodox Jews have far more babies than Reform Jews. In North America, he calls everyone a Christian. Yet Evangelical Christians have more babies than Mainline Christians or the truly non-Christians. Lumped together, things may net out, but there is a lot more to consider yet.

Posted by: Michael at May 26, 2012 2:18 PM

Evidence seems to indicate that the closer you feel to the Life Giver the more likely you are to pass along life. The farther you feel from the Life Giver the less likely you are to pass on life. Thus Fundamentalist Christians have more children than Evangelical Christians who have larger families than mainline Christians who have more children than secular humanists who have more children than rabid atheists.

Posted by: Joe at May 26, 2012 2:38 PM

ricardo - very nice analysis. I fully agree with you that we do not need religion to develop moral codes. I consider that these are, as you point out, natural to our nature as a species with the capacity for reason, for emotion, for analysis, for imagination.

And yes, organized religion simply built on the earlier small-group moral codes.

Michael - he wasn't dealing with the ratio of children to subgroups in religions though that's interesting in itself; and as you point out, it would probably average out anyway.

His key point, to my understanding, was to remove religion as a causal factor in large families and to insert economics instead. I consider this, ie, a removal of ideology, to be a valid analysis - and his graphs were excellent.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 2:58 PM

Hi ET.

First, look at it empirically. If in your own life experiences you do not see a direct relation between religiosity and family size, then I am surprised. If I assume that you can make such observations, I would ask why allow a guy with a mike, an audience, and a PowerPoint presentation to refute the solid evidence of your own life experience and invite you to ponder the reason.

Next; this type of analysis is purely statistically based or "normal type", and shows no influence of "ideal type" analysis. Wiki does a fair job of describing this dichotomy and the work of Ferdinand Tönnies which I would recommend.

The literature I would point you toward looks at the necessity of secularization for a successful transformation to a "Gesellschaft" society. In fact this video, in its manipulated format, is a tool of social engineering toward that end.

Examine the video, the overt footage of grinning and apparently accepting Arabic men. It is a construct. The video is laugh tracked. Why? Because this gentleman is going about the work of social engineering. The idea is to garner acceptance of the concept that not having many children has nothing to do with your religion and to offer "society based absolution" in that regard. Pretty slick huh?

I pointed out the great oversight in regards to the real story about the birth rate in China. Statistically, my refutation should stand on that basis alone.

In the last sentence you have answered your own question. The change in the "nature" of religion was not the focus of the analysis, it was the purpose. That might just be the biggest inconvenient truth of all.

Posted by: ∞ ≠ ø at May 26, 2012 3:05 PM

ricardo, very true. However I should point out that did not each of the ancient groups followed a religion of some kind and then as you say, "Organized religion later simply codified and built on moral practices that were already part of the natural condition of human survival and functional human society."

I have to agree with Joe, as the area we live is considered to be a Bible belt area in Saskatchewan and, as Joe says, generally the Fundamentalist Christians have the most children, and Evangelical Christians have more children than the mainline Christians. The same would hold true in a few other locations in Saskatchewan, in southern Manitoba and parts of Alberta. It seems that as Christians become too comfortable with the secular world and adopt more of the comfortable lifestyle available to them they begin to loose these moral codes and have fewer children.

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at May 26, 2012 3:23 PM

ET,

Yep, economics is a valid analysis. Although I don't know how it applies in the post-modern West -- we seem to do everything counter-intuitive where the family is concerned that cannot be explained by economics, or any heuristic for that matter (unless economics is equated to self-absorbed avarice). I think we've come full circle back to ideology -- but an ideology that is intuitively dysfunctional and socially incoherent.


Posted by: ricardo at May 26, 2012 3:23 PM

ET,

Yep, economics is a valid analysis. Although I don't know how it applies in the post-modern West -- we seem to do everything counter-intuitive where the family is concerned that cannot be explained by economics, or any heuristic for that matter (unless economics is equated to self-absorbed avarice). I think we've come full circle back to ideology -- but an ideology that is intuitively dysfunctional and socially incoherent.


Posted by: ricardo at May 26, 2012 3:24 PM

Of course ET chooses to overlook the obvious. One can not create moral codes without religion because the new moral code springs from your belief system (religion). Of course she also fails to admit that there really are no new moral codes. They have all been tried in the past and with a bit of historical knowledge you can predict the resultant society.

Posted by: Joe at May 26, 2012 3:37 PM

Ken (Kulak): "did not each of the ancient groups followed a religion of some kind"?

Maybe I should have said "civilized" religion to distinguish (although that doesn't mean we've always been more "civil" -- e.g. the Inquisition).

But you are right, belief in a higher power has always been with us. I hope I wasn't arguing in favour of atheism -- I think it makes more sense to believe in God. Besides, it keeps us humble. ;-)

Posted by: ricardo at May 26, 2012 3:39 PM

Joe you have made the best point in here!

As for ricardo , that "oral code" you speak of is written on our heards and our minds .

I don't wantto get off on a rant here ,but if you think that christianity has done nothing to bring morality to the forfront of human survival your wrong .

Before jesus came , the assyrians were slaughtering and raping and plundering as they wished , and druid would burn people to keep warm and there was nothing worng with it , they felt it was acceptable to do this , as though they had some sort of right to do so . They had no moral code ...if you killed someone chances are you and any offspring or friends in the area would have been killed as well ...it was brutal and savage. It was athiesm,and paganism. It was humanity before jesus and yes that included christians and ajews alike as well the world was and is full of sin there is nothing we can do to hide from it.

Adam and eve broke the relationship with god , and thus broke our relationships , with each other, man to man ,man to woman,man and woman to animals,animals to other anmals, so on and so forth ...when jesus came he came to restore , and in order to restore he had to make one last sacrifice wich he did ...from then on my friend the healing has begun , it was largly (not only) christianity that has brought the world to where it is today.

It all started with humility, serving christ , loving our nieghbours as ourselves, and loving god with all of your heart ,mind,and soul.

unfortunatley like the isrieliteso f the scriptures they trun from god , become selfrighteous turn form him and suffer and then beg him to save them ..when he does they become great ..then become selfrighteous they turn from him and suffer and then beg him to save them when he does they become selfrighteous turn form him and suffer...lol ...and theb eat goes on this is across all of humanity and although athiest's laugh ...they are still part of our family ...anyway that is my two cent's as for babies read what joe said .

Posted by: paul in calgary at May 26, 2012 3:45 PM

infinity - hmm. First, I don't accept my own life experiences as valid evidence of a collective or normative data base. That would be very unscientific!

And no, I don't see any direct relation between religiosity and family size. That's because I consider religious beliefs embedded within the economic reality. So, I don't consider the presentation to be a refutation of my own views.

And after all, his data wasn't 'a mike, an audience, and a PowerPoint presentation'. His data was the statistics he presented. I could hardly claim that my own singular personal experiences have greater empirical validity than a host of statistics!

I don't see the relevance of an 'ideal type' analysis in this argument; it's purely statistical.

Equally, Tonnies differentiation between what I would call a tribal (gemein) mode of social organization vs a civic mode is certainly a valid analysis but isn't the point of this talk - which was merely to show that economic factors were the basis causal factor to the number of children.

As for 'social engineering' - I have absolutely no idea why you are bringing up the term. I saw no evidence of such in this talk. Nor does it imply, in any way, 'the necessity of secularization for a successful transformation' to the civic societal mode. I consider such a conclusion strictly - your personal opinion.

I don't accept your view of the 'grinning Arabic men' (there were lots of others in the audience)and I certainly see no evidence for your conclusion that:
"this gentleman is going about the work of social engineering. The idea is to garner acceptance of the concept that not having many children has nothing to do with your religion and to offer "society based absolution" in that regard."

He's not offering absolution! Where's your evidence? All he's doing is pointing out a correlation between economic status and family size, and a negative correlation between religion and family size. You can still be religious with a smaller family!

The birth rate in China had nothing to do with religion but with the movement from a peasant agricultural economy to an urban industrial one. Moving that size of a population, with its standards of large families (to work in the fields) couldn't be accomodated in an emerging industrial mode. Economics. Not Religion.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 3:59 PM

In reply to Joe, I certainly reject that you need religion to have a moral code. As I said before, I consider that 'being moral' is a basic characteristic of 'being rational, emotional, imaginative', ie, a basic characteristic of our humanity. Joe and I disagree on this and presumably, always will. Ah well.

I think that we have to differentiate between basic morality, and societal beliefs. So, in a societal belief system, you can define 'other tribes' as evil and only your own tribe as good. Or you can define a newborn as 'not human' until the child is a month old; that's a reality within a society where newborns frequently die. That's not the morality to which I refer. You can certainly change this societal belief system.

ricardo- I'm an atheist. Being an atheist doesn't mean putting mankind as superior and supreme (I certainly don't!); it simply means a rejection of an Agential Deterministic Force in life. That our universe is organized, rational, networked, interactive, functional - I'll accept all of that. But not a Supreme Agential Force.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 4:22 PM

Of course you do ET. Your marxist analysis precludes anything beyond what's in the slop trough that may fill your belly. Maybe the discussion would make more sense to you if we were to debate the merits of last night's rotten carrot - steeped beet collage than mull over the fine points of humanity's strain to elevate itself.

To paraphrase ET: Hush fellow swine why struggle so - do you not know that swinehood hath no remedy?

Posted by: Joe at May 26, 2012 4:34 PM

Heh, Joe, I'm not a marxist. I don't think you know anything about marxism; surely you don't think that because someone considers that the economy plays a key role in societal organization that this makes them a marxist! Wow.

But note, how filled with hatred you are for someone who doesn't agree with you, how you denigrate and insult someone who doesn't agree with you. That's quite the moral code you live by. Sad, really.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 4:41 PM

ET at May 26, 2012 3:59 PM,

Hate to butt in, but further to our discussion: I would disagree on your China example. Birth rate is controlled by the State in China -- people didn't "adapt" to the economics of industrialization and hence decide to have less babies. The State forces them to.

I think I agreed that economics is "a valid analysis". But I don't think economics is a Master Theory that explains why people behave everywhere.

Posted by: ricardo at May 26, 2012 4:43 PM

I never said you were a marxist ET I simply said every analysis you offer is marxist. A wise man once said, "Man does not live by bread alone". Too bad you haven't learned that lesson yet.

Posted by: Joe at May 26, 2012 4:44 PM

BTW I don't hate you ET. (did you realize how leftist you sound when you say that?) I don't even know you. What I despise is flaccid marxist rhetoric coming from an otherwise intelligent individual. How brain dead do you have to be to agree with Marx that only the material matters?

Posted by: Joe at May 26, 2012 4:49 PM

ricardo - yes, I fully agree that this wasn't a natural adaptation to a societal transformation; that would have taken too long.

It was a top-down authoritarian imposition and, I think, an acknowledgment that trying to get millions of peasants, with their large family norms, off the land and into urban areas and into an industrial economy, could only be done if the new urban population was kept low.

I consider that people adapt, economically, to the ecological realities of their area - ie, the key question is: How can we, a people, survive in this ecological area? Are there animals to domesticate, plants, water, fertile soil, reasonable temperatures, rainfall, etc etc. Then, how do we use these natural resources? Gradually, a societal way of life develops, which is articulated within a set of beliefs, behaviour, values.

A problem in societal analysis is that many people ignore the basic realities: that ecological domain and the economic adaptation to it...and focus only on the mental constructs that people have developed over the generations. They ignore that many of the particular mental constructs would not have developed in a different ecological domain.

That's also why I'm against multiculturalism; it's emotionally gratifying up to a point to Remember the Old Land, but to ignore the New Land and its differences alienates immigrants from collaborating with others and prevents them from developing a new-land and new neighbours set of beliefs.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 4:52 PM

As a religious apathist, I'll poke the bear. I have never found very religious people to by the most moral or even nicer than average. What I have noticed is that the moderately religious tend to be nicer than average. I suspect that like environmentalists who lecture about energy consumption while rationalizing/ignoring their piggish use, the overtly religious believe their fervent holiness compensated for their bad behavior.

Posted by: LC Bennett at May 26, 2012 4:59 PM

A major point in this video is that western countries have no need to pursue government policies aimed at discouraging childbearing by their citizens which the UN, liberals, and their ilk have long pushed onto the west. In fact, most countries in the west should increase their birthrates.

And the backwardness and poverty of the third world is not the fault of the west, it is the fault of huge families borne by residents of the third world. - 6 or more children to heads of houselholds who earn 5% (!) of the income of typical western households.

Posted by: small c conservative at May 26, 2012 5:00 PM

Joe - to declare that an economic analysis is 'marxist' shows that you don't know anything about economics. Or Marxism.

And to comment on the hatred evinced by your really offensive personal insults is hardly a symptom of 'being a leftist'! My goodness, any rational person, I hope, would object to the descriptions you've used.

Was Hayek a Marxist? Karl Popper? Von Mises? Friedman? Have you bothered to read them? Have you even read Marx?

Hayek's analytic frame was based on a view that the economic and societal organization of a population was networked. I add the ecological adaptation.

You can call it material; I call it realism - the realism of Aristotle, of Popper, of Hayek, which all acknowledge that we, with our capacity for reason, must acknowledge our finite (material) nature and live with humility within its constraints. That acknowledgement, of finite reality, is what economics is all about.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 5:05 PM

The more the woman are educated, the more likely they are to not want to stop their careers to reproduce.

The likes of Ted, Maurice and Dr. Fruitfly love these presentations because the socialist / communist system of the two-income families plays right into their grand schemes.

There has been a flooding of the economic system with women who are paid lower wages because they are not the primary income earners and are willing to accept those wages as they see themselves as just supplementing the traditional male provider income. The government loves the added tax base by which to fund all the touchy-feely social programs to help sustain the "new economic realities".

The progressive women love their "new-found" freedom of economic autonomy, demanding the population control methods which got all the cheers in this propaganda tripe.

This is nothing more than an intellectuals attempt at demanding the Chinese "one-child" policy. Progressives are nothing but regressives, trying to extract more of yours and my money to do as they wish and please.

Posted by: glacierman at May 26, 2012 5:10 PM

ET, "must acknowledge our finite (material) nature and live with humility within its constraints" sounds almost Malthusian. This ignores the ability of mankind to overcome constraints with technology and creativity. Every prediction of population doom has been overcome with science and the free market.

Sorry for yet another Reason link but it is a good interview about dangerous anti-humanism under the guise of resource constraint. The history of government mandated population control and sterilization programs on the most vulnerable women is inhumane.

Robert Zubrin: Radical Environmentalists and Other Merchants of Despair

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=ei6jbrcX8ao

Posted by: LC Bennett at May 26, 2012 5:24 PM

This is nothing more than an intellectuals attempt at demanding the Chinese "one-child" policy.

Yeah, as the Marxist, social engineer, ET says;

yes, I fully agree that this wasn't a natural adaptation to a societal transformation; that would have taken too long.

Can't have people doing as they wish, that would take too long.

Posted by: fiddle at May 26, 2012 5:32 PM

Hey how about that folks ET says she has read a bunch of materialistic authors and agrees with them. YAWN. Yes ET I have read most of them as well and I don't agree with much of what they have to say. A lot of them have the insight of a gnat in regards to the human condition. Now why don't you forgo your little enclave of like minded knitwits and try exploring the real world for a change. If you have any intelligence it will take you about 2 months of ground work to realize that the buffoons who write books don't always know much about what they write.

Posted by: Joe at May 26, 2012 6:12 PM

"The more the woman are educated, the more likely they are to not want to stop their careers to reproduce."

The more women work the more of them find that they had it really good before they had to get up at 5 am and drag their asses into some crappy job in an office, work all day and get more after dark. Its a good thing they never achieved true equality or instead of dragging their asses into relatively comfortable offices they would be slinging cinder blocks on construction sights or dying of mesothelioma or black lung disease like their men folk.

In my experience women who can find a husband who can support them are happy to quite there jobs to look after children.

Posted by: minuteman at May 26, 2012 6:12 PM

The reason I enjoy Small Dead Animals is the intellect of the posters on its threads. I compare this to threads on National Post where they are dominated by brain-dead leftists that no amount of facts or reasoning can dissuade them from the same old tired rhetoric.

Whenever they are crossed or challenged they react in the same caustic, childish petulance shown by Joe and Fiddle on SDA. If you don't have anything intelligent to add to the discussion, STFU.

Posted by: dave at May 26, 2012 6:29 PM

ET
"I don't accept my own life experiences as valid evidence of a collective or normative data base."
If this is the case, you are a self described useful idiot. Rendering your own life experiences as statistically insignificant makes you a perfect nihilist. Foisting opinions from this perspective is oxymoronic by definition and hypocritical in nature. In your first sentence you defeated any argument you may have on any topic.

"I could hardly claim that my own singular personal experiences have greater empirical validity than a host of statistics!"

Your "personal experiences" represent a host of statistics which you are willing to dismiss out of hand. On what grounds? Pure foolishness?

"I don't see the relevance of an 'ideal type' analysis in this argument; it's purely statistical."

Emic vs. etic. Here you select values ascribed to society rather than values a society would ascribe to itself. It has long been argued that objectivity in this regard cannot be achieved. Here you reject the entire Post Modernest era. This is rejection of modern social scientific methodology... in the name of science???!!!

"...the point of this talk - which was merely to show that economic factors were the basis causal factor to the number of children."

The talk was specified as being about the link between religion and sexuality. Then the shell game was played and economic factors were presented. Straw man. Then the conclusion: "Religion has very little to do with the number of babies per woman; all religions are fully capable to maintain their values and adapt to this new world,"
No evidence was offered in support of this conclusion. Maintenance and adaptation... another oxymoron concluded the presentation. (New World Order, for those who choose to notice)

"As for 'social engineering' - I have absolutely no idea why you are bringing up the term.
I cannot fix cluelessness.

"I don't accept your view of the 'grinning Arabic men..
You are not willing to think critically of your own perceptions because you don't value them in the first place.

"You can still be religious with a smaller family!"
This is the adaptation the presenter seeks. Here you have ascribed your understanding of the term religious without regard to the emic and statistically significant tradition of many religious peoples. As you are an atheist this statement is galling in its particularist ethnocentric elitism.

"The birth rate in China had nothing to do with religion.." Indeed, neither did Mao Zedong. "Moving that size of a population, with its standards of large families (to work in the fields) couldn't be accommodated"..
No indeed, social engineering imprisoned, starved, exterminated, 45 to 65 million people. Then, the one child policy.
No, not religion, statism, social engineering, genocide.


Posted by: ∞ ≠ ø at May 26, 2012 6:51 PM

dave I have never suggested anyone STFU. Why? Because I believe the dull and the ignorant and even you yes you too should have your say.

Posted by: Joe at May 26, 2012 7:17 PM

If you don't have anything intelligent to add to the discussion, STFU.
Posted by: dave at May 26, 2012 6:29 PM

And by your metric you aught to do the same. Humanist and Marxist talking points spewed by the likes of ET (and by your agreement) you, are what we challenge as being shallow and mostly the opinions of those whom you read and agree with. And they are of Socialist and Marxist thinkers on this subject.

They will be challenged, sometimes with remarks of derision, sometimes with compassion. Especially when ET starts in on the "morals" statements which are laughable.

Posted by: glacierman at May 26, 2012 7:28 PM

wow, infinity - you make a lot of assertions but they remain just that: your opinions.

That's right, my own individual experience is not and cannot be, a statistic. That's because statistics is the collection, collation and analysis of lots of data. Lots. So my one 'bit' is not a 'host of statistics' but is statistically irrelevant and is not a definition of nihilism. [Goodness, you toss words around, don't you.]

I don't foist opinions and I don't use my own singular experience. I gather data from statistical sources and use reason and logic for analysis. That's it.

I'm not into the simplistic reductions of that old dualism of etic and emic and long, long ago rejected postmodernism. Postmodernism is hardly a scientific methodology.

I disagree with your view that the outline of economics was a straw man. This was a brief talk, not a 300 page book. His conclusion that religions adapt is valid and can be explored elsewhere.

In response to my:"As for 'social engineering' - I have absolutely no idea why you are bringing up the term."
You replied: "I cannot fix cluelessness". That's not a valid response; it's just a red herring ad hominem.

In response to my:"I don't accept your view of the 'grinning Arabic men..", you replied:
"You are not willing to think critically of your own perceptions because you don't value them in the first place."
My goodness, another ad hominem rather than a valid response. You ought to be able to prove that I 'don't value my own perceptions'.

And don't try the 'statistically insignificant', for that would be yet another logical fallacy on your part.

You state: "As you are an atheist this statement is galling in its particularist ethnocentric elitism." Whew, that's meaningless. Kindly show how atheism is linked to 'particularist ethnocentric elitism'. Each word needs an explanation!

You flip words around like confetti. Every population develops sets of normative beliefs and behaviour. The socialization of the new generation is, crudely put, 'social engineering'. This happens in every society and you seem to ignore the necessary socialization of the next generation.

And to attribute the millions dead in the transformation of China from a local rural agriculturalism to a modern urban industrialism, in one generation, merely to 'social engineering' misunderstands what went on - and why.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 7:28 PM

Marxism is a religion of sorts just as the radical environmental movement is, and has radical and moderate believers just as Christianity, Islam and the other religions do. But this is not the thread to discuss the history of any of them except in the context of the presentation.

I would add to the last paragraph of my comment at 3:23 that at first glance there is no apparent difference in the economic level or the ability to afford more or fewer children. Although there is generally a difference in the educational levels achieved.

I also have to add, like dave, this is a great site to explore and exchange ideas and read what people more knowledgeable in their fields have to say, and deplore it when it degenerates into name calling.

Can't we all just get along. :-)

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at May 26, 2012 7:35 PM

Irreverant Dreamer:

That population is going down is a sound premise,but for how long, with what consequences?

WTF?! He said the world's population is going to go from 7 billion today to 10 billion in 80 years. How in the world do you get "population is going down" from that?!

Posted by: KevinB at May 26, 2012 7:44 PM

∞ ≠ ø, Your analysis assumes that the Communist Party of China has the physical power to reduce the birthrate of China by policy alone. I strongly doubt that is the case. If peasant farmers still needed 12 kids to make sure 6 lived to plow the rice paddy every spring, they would be having 12 kids and the Communist Party would be able to do d@mn-all about it.

Remember, the Great Leap Forward killed on the order of 30 million rural peasants in China in 1959-1961... and it didn't even make a blip on the population chart. Its not even a wiggle in the birthrate. That was their best shot at genocide, since then they have nibbled at the edges. Since then the birthrate has fallen to roughly North American rates.

Therefore I submit that even the most heinous government does not have the power to change the birthrate of an entire nation. Physical circumstances must change, then the birthrate changes.

Which is what ET said.

Posted by: The Phantom at May 26, 2012 8:08 PM

By the way: is "particularist" a word, or is it a word-like noise which seems to mean something but actually conveys no meaning whatsoever?

Posted by: The Phantom at May 26, 2012 8:13 PM

glacierman - could you explain what is marxist about my analysis?

And, I've no idea what you mean by 'humanist' talking points.
And what is laughable about my 'morals statements'.

It's easy to deride; all that takes is a bunch of words. How about supporting your derision with the reasons for it?

So, Joe, according to you, Aristotle is a nitwit; Popper and Hayek are nitwits. Friedman is a nitwit. Incredible. And they 'have the insight of a gnat in regards to the human condition'. Gosh, I'd be interested in your analysis of each of them and why you've come to such a conclusion that they are worthless.

Oh, and why you deride them as 'the buffoons who write books' and on what basis you claim that they don't know much about what they write. How about it - explain to me why Aristotle, Popper, Hayek and Friedman are buffoons and nitwits. Those are your words; substantiate your views. Don't just insult them.

And you yet again, resort to insults. Now, I'm a nitwit. (you spelled it incorrectly, don't let that bother you).

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 8:19 PM

While you folks were arguing, our box got closer to the top. You know what that means! Go out and have a drink, enjoy what few years we have left.

Posted by: Gus at May 26, 2012 8:50 PM

"ET: The variables he was positing are economic: movement out of peasant economic sustenance into a modern economy reduces the birth rate."

And why would that be? I explained in the earlier post that the moving of women into the traditional male workplace has done exactly that. What is so hard to understand about that statement? And that is the underpinnings of the 8th pillar of the Communist Manifesto. Progressives are doing this willingly and will soon be forcing this with the help of the state (see China). The birthrate will drop just as it did in China. Is this not Marxists and do you not agree with this, as this is what was what was brought to light by the dear doctor.

ET, could you please explain ONE moral value which IS NOT a derivative of the Judeo-Christian Religion? If you can not, then you abide by and follow these, even though you like to believe you are self-sufficient in you moral character.

Posted by: glacierman at May 26, 2012 8:55 PM

ET said: "movement out of peasant economic sustenance into a modern economy reduces the birth rate."

glacierman asked: "And why would that be?"

The power of the electric motor, penicillin and the internal combustion engine replaces ten children. That's why.

Women generally like children. That doesn't mean they want to personally bear and raise an entire hockey team. Two is usually enough, if the statistics are worth anything at all.

That means not religion nor politics nor even horrific war can really change birth rates that much. It does not mean that religion is false or meaningless, just that it doesn't -control- birth rates like some people say.

Religion can't make it stop snowing either. Does this cause us concern? Or do we just shovel the driveway?

Posted by: The Phantom at May 26, 2012 9:16 PM

@GLACIERMAN

Well said if you can read y post above you will see that I agree fully . Christianity has done the most to bring humanity into civility ...think of all nations even today where Christianity IS NOT the main influence in that countries culture and you have let's see

China,Russia,north Korea,turkey,Lybia , Zimbabway , just a few where Christianity is banned or has little to no influence .

The best and most free countries in the world still have been formed and governed based upon the bible.

It really bothers me that atheists ignore the fact that every country where jesus was/is not allowed , have all of humanities most savage and murderous histories with mass blood shed and complete and total oppression.

Posted by: Paul in Calgary at May 26, 2012 9:17 PM

@GLACIERMAN

Well said if you can read y post above you will see that I agree fully . Christianity has done the most to bring humanity into civility ...think of all nations even today where Christianity IS NOT the main influence in that countries culture and you have let's see

China,Russia,north Korea,turkey,Lybia , Zimbabway , just a few where Christianity is banned or has little to no influence .

The best and most free countries in the world still have been formed and governed based upon the bible.

It really bothers me that atheists ignore the fact that every country where jesus was/is not allowed , have all of humanities most savage and murderous histories with mass blood shed and complete and total oppression.

Posted by: Paul in Calgary at May 26, 2012 9:18 PM

glacierman -every socioeconomic mode has traditional male and female work roles. In some economic modes, the primary sustenance is via the women (gathering economy). Moving the genders into opposite traditional mode does not increase or decrease the birth rate.

But, moving from an agricultural economic mode to an industrial mode does reduce the birth rate, because the family unit becomes nuclear rather than extended, and fewer members are required to operate a functional economic unit.

Could you provide me with evidence that I claim that I am 'self-sufficient in my moral character'?

Are you actually saying that all the ancient peoples, before the Judaic and Christian religions, had no morality? Ever read Aristotle and his Nicomachean Ethics? Books II to V are all about moral virtue. They are wonderful, tremendous analyses.

I'm not a fan of Plato, but, ever read him?
What about Homer? What about Cicero and his concept of justice and duty - which had zilch to do with Judeo-Christian axioms?

Oh, and are you aware of the morality of a kin-group (both genetic and ascribed kinship), where 'sharing' is the basic moral requirement for all? This is found in non-literate societies and thousands of years before the monotheistic religions.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 9:26 PM

ET you say "His conclusion that religions adapt is valid and can be explored elsewhere." I think his hypothesis is that religion is irrelevant. There is evidence to support this in his presentation, but it is weak and needs further analysis. He doesn't suggest that religions adapt.

On a related point, he casually lumps the extremes of each religion into the same catagory. If the makeup of the religious group changed over the time of the study from fundamentalist to moderate that could impact the movement of the circle on the chart. And he doesn't show if the reduction in the number of children per capita moves the social group up the economic ladder. More analysis is necessary. At best this material supports the hypothesis that the birthrate in very populations comprised of very broad religious groups declines over time - - - with some coorelation to increasing GDP of the population - - - though in several examples he studied in depth the birthrate declined but the wealth of the population did not increase. I wonder what caused that?

It appears to me that he introduces his hypothesis on the cause of the decline in children per capita - - and does not provide any evidence to support his hypothesis except the Quatari statistics web site (which he doesn't show any statistics from).

I would be interested in statistics coorelating the birthrate of fundamentalists in any religion to the economic output of their society.

Phantom - in rural areas of China, families often have more than one child. They do this because farming is still labour intensive. Their excess of children is overlooked by the local governors and the Chinese politbureau. The single child policy was enforced in the cities and more industrialized areas. A heinous government can accelerate the decline in the birthrate of a nation, but as you point out, other factors (hypothesized by the presenter to be social and economic) also play a part.

Posted by: rroe at May 26, 2012 10:12 PM

rroe - but, why would an ideology change from fundamentalist to moderate? Just because?

Or is it because the economic mode is changing, from agricultural to industrial; and the family unit, which is the basic economic unit, is changing from extended to nuclear.

His statistics are world wide; he correlates family size and economic GDP. That's all.

A nuclear family economic unit is mobile, can move from city to city; it is also, as urban, flexible and can work in various types of jobs.

I don't think that a fundamentalist ideology of any type can operate as an industrialist economy. And that's valid, I think, for any dogma, whether it's religious, environmental or other.

That's the problem in the Islamic nations. Their industrialism is a superstructure, with oil extracted by, developed by, processed by, shipped by - the West. The Islamic nations never developed the technological capacity for this. They simply reap the profits and redistribute it to the population.

But, this monolithic top down economy is now unable to support the exponential increase in population and the urbanization of the people. But their fundamentalism has made it very difficult for them to change and develop a private sector middle class capitalist economy.

No, I don't think he is saying that religion is irrelevant. He is saying that it is not a causal factor in family size; that the economy is the basic causal factor in family size.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 10:45 PM

ET
Likewise.
If you deny your own experience then you are a blank page to be written on. You have offered nothing to support the conclusions in the video other than agreement.

If you don't like clueless then we'll move to feigned ignorance.

Post Modernism simply rejects the concept that studies and writings about "other" cultures are scientifically unbiased. Your rejection / misunderstanding of this is noted.

You deny your own perceptions and consider it scientific to do so. Science is a discipline based on the foundations of observation and empirical evidence. Simply avowing to the results of others based on what yet others have said is merely vacant opinion.

If you don't understand the words I am using look them up and perhaps the confetti in your mind will settle.

Every population is entitled to its set of normative beliefs and requires no "socialization" from Sweden, UN agenda 21, or any other elitist body.

Particularism

Phantom
An interesting point is that, Mao engaged in an anti-religious crusade beginning in 1950. This cleansing of religion has an interesting co-incidence with the birth rate decline. This argument is more evidential than any other I have seen here so far.

Posted by: ∞ ≠ ø at May 26, 2012 10:51 PM

KevinB
I meant down compared to the last century in child bearing. Of course it will go up until zpg is achieved like in Canada where more people are dying than being born. It will decrease in a slow fashion like Quebec. That is if his paper calculations hold true. Which I highly doubt. To many variables to predict the future. Right now it seems the West is in population decline. That could change if there is a cultural shift back to big families. As just one poor example. The butterfly effect holds true for humanity no less than the wind.

Posted by: Revnant Dream at May 26, 2012 11:17 PM

infinity - you certainly misinterpret a great deal. I'm beginning to think you are a sociology or anthropology undergrad, all new to the terms, and haven't figured them out for yourself.

I don't deny my own experience but I certainly don't consider it statistically significant. You are, for some odd reason, merging the two - personal experience and statistics. This is a serious analytic error.

No, postmodernism isn't a recognition of bias towards other cultures. After all, it would also have to include bias towards one's own culture. Postmodernism is not about bias but about a rejection of the intellectual capacity for any awareness and analysis of objective reality. I am so glad you are noting my rejection of postmodernism. It's total rejection; I can't stand postmodernism.

I'm not into insults, and will only stick to the issues. I think that using personal insults is a sign of intellectual shallowness and a lack of argumentative content. Why do you choose to use personal insults?

What the heck does 'entitled to its set of normative beliefs' mean? Why would you use the term 'entitled' - as if normative habits were some kind of special human right? Whew. Every population develops a particular set of normative beliefs and behaviour and it most certainly uses them to socialize and rear its own next generation.

What does Sweden and the UN and elitism have to do with this?

Oh, and the declining birth rate in China could more accurately be correlated with Mao's Great Leap Forward. It was a disaster, killing millions.

Posted by: ET at May 26, 2012 11:18 PM

ET said: "Oh, and the declining birth rate in China could more accurately be correlated with Mao's Great Leap Forward. It was a disaster, killing millions."

Actually my point was that 30 million deaths in three years amounted to statistical noise in the Chinese birthrate, being >3%. Government policies like one child per family can't change birth rates by themselves.

But they can certainly make life miserable and shorter for a significant minority of a population.

Posted by: The Phantom at May 26, 2012 11:28 PM

Phantom:

Actually my point was that 30 million deaths in three years amounted to statistical noise in the Chinese birthrate, being >3%.

Since China's population was about 660 million in 1960, and its birth rate was about 35 per thousand (about 3 times what it is today), we get births at about 23 million a year, and famine deaths at about 10 million (30 million over three years).

Now, to me, 10 million compared to 20 million is not "noise' - it's quite a significant number. But perhaps you studied statistics in Quebec, where the prevailing engineering ethos of the time was "dat's close enough".

Posted by: KevinB at May 27, 2012 12:04 AM

Cut and paste
Postmodernism espouses a systematic skepticism of grounded theoretical perspectives. Applied to anthropology, this skepticism has shifted focus from the observation of a particular society to the observation of the (anthropological) observer.

Applied to this lecturer, it is clearly evident that this ivory tower bait and switch economic analysis has nothing to do with religion. This allows the presenter to suggest that the birth rate has nothing to do with religion.

To the contrary...
"Like other demographers, Eric Kaufmann expects western Europe to become markedly more religious in the course of the 21st century, as a result of the relatively low fertility of unbelievers and immigration from more pious places. Not only do denominations with traditionalist values tend to have higher birth rates than their more liberal co-religionists, but countries that are relatively secularised usually reproduce more slowly than countries that are more religious. According to the World Bank, the nations with the largest proportions of unbelievers had an average annual population growth rate of just 0.7% in the period 1975-97, while the populations of the most religious countries grew three times as fast."

News flash not all Post Modernism is nihilism.

"What the heck does 'entitled to its set of normative beliefs' mean?"

Uhhhhh... Those are your own words.

"What does Sweden and the UN and elitism have to do with this? "

http://www.johannesburgsummit.org/html/sustainable_dev/p2_health/1110_global_health_chart.pdf

"Mao's Great Leap Forward. It was a disaster, killing millions."

I'm glad you have learned that it wasn't just a "...movement from a peasant agricultural economy to an urban industrial one."

As I said before, it was genocide, 10 million executed, the rest, 35 to 45 million starved as a result of social engineering.

Posted by: ∞ ≠ ø at May 27, 2012 1:33 AM

ET, where do you think that Aristotle and Homer et al, get their belief systems from? The descendants of Abraham lived centuries before them.

Better try a little harder on that one.

And you still didn't answer my question as to a moral which was not established from them. Please respond.

Posted by: glacierman at May 27, 2012 1:56 AM

It's appalling how a woman (ET) can rationalize China's decline in birth rates.

"yes, I fully agree that this wasn't a natural adaptation to a societal transformation; that would have taken too long.
It was a top-down authoritarian imposition and, I think, an acknowledgment that trying to get millions of peasants, with their large family norms, off the land and into urban areas and into an industrial economy, could only be done if the new urban population was kept low."

So the end justifies the means? How atheistic of you.

Posted by: Luke at May 27, 2012 2:44 AM

ET, you may be an atheist but you have the patience of a saint.

Posted by: Caleo at May 27, 2012 3:59 AM

glacierman- prove that Aristotle, Plato, Homer, Cicero etc, and the rest of these ancient communities, did not on their own, develop a moral ideology, but instead - unable to think and reason - had to take it from some other peoples in a distant land.

Prove this. Don't assume it. Because that's all you are doing - making an assumption without a shred of evidence.

Then, you'll have to explain not only why only the Judaic peoples were able to develop a morality, but - where did they get it from? Oh, and how did they send it across to other peoples such as the Greeks and Romans who were, according to you, existing as societies before this contact - but utterly without reason and thus, morality. Prove it.

Are you seriously trying to claim that all peoples of the world who existed long before Judaism - and they did - were amoral? That they were unable to develop a moral code? Do you seriously claim that? Prove it.

I repeat: the Greeks and Romans, and all peoples before them, all had moral codes. And none of them needed to rely on the Judaic code.

Luke - I explained and outlined an event. Where did I say that it was just or righteous? If I say that the Third Reich set up camps to 'purify' a population, does that historical outline also mean that I considered it justified? Wow.

Posted by: ET at May 27, 2012 8:59 AM

infinity- because you quote some undergrad text definition of postmodernism doesn't validate that definition. Postmodernism is not just another word for scepticism. I suggest you do a bit more research on the term.

Read, if you can stand it, Derrida, Lyotard, Deleuze. You'll probably like them; I don't. It has nothing to do with scepticism but with the location of the power to define reality. Postmodernism rejects realism and inserts man as the agential power of defining reality. I prefer Aristotle and Peirce.

Your outline of Eric Kaufmann's view, is his view. You accept it; I don't. I consider that the economic infrastructure plays a stronger societal role than the ideological.

Could you provide proof that I ever said that a society is 'entitled to its set of normative beliefs'? The key word is 'entitled'.

And what do you mean that these beliefs are 'socialized' by external agencies? Are you actually saying that a population doesn't develop their own normative standards?

I don't understand your point about social engineering. You don't seem to understand the term but use it ambiguously to mean any and all societal pressures, both top-down and grassroots. That's obviously an invalid use.

Posted by: ET at May 27, 2012 9:23 AM

...prove that Aristotle, Plato, Homer, Cicero etc, and the rest of these ancient communities, did not on their own, develop a moral ideology, but instead - unable to think and reason - had to take it from some other peoples in a distant land.

This is a typical argument of our self-described betters. 'Well, prove it didn't happen'.

Same argument the AGW people use, 'it's all we can think of, therefore it is'.

Where did I say that it was just or righteous?

And what would you base your moral judgment on, if you did condemn it? Your made up personal morals? Who are you, and why should anyone care?

Posted by: fiddle at May 27, 2012 9:35 AM

- We are biological organisms and we evolve to survive, and that includes developing "moral" codes where necessary.

- We can make evolutionary mistakes as well, and there is no guarantee that the human race will exist in 10,000 years, certainly not if we let Muslims have access to dangerous weapons.

- Rolsing's talk covers 30 years in time, which is a ping prick in the bigger picture of things.

- Estimates are that the Milkyway alone contains about 10 billion potentially habitable planets. We are a drop in the bucket. We think we are hellishly important, but that is not the case at all. We are really a bit of background noise in the bigger universe.

Posted by: TJ at May 27, 2012 9:41 AM

Somebody else making pronouncements on 'estimates', 'maybe', 'possibly'...'it's all we can think of'...

Posted by: fiddle at May 27, 2012 9:49 AM

fiddle - it is logically impossible to prove a negative. It's called 'argumentum ad ignorantiam' or argument from ignorance.

However, if you want to engage in this ignorance, by all means. People use it all the time to assert that unicorns exist, that aliens are working within the bodies of humans, and so on.

What you are also ignoring, in addition to making this logical error, is that all societies develop normative standards of belief and behaviour. This behaviour is defined as moral or good versus bad behaviour. There is no such thing as a population, living as a collective, without morality.

All societies have developed a perspective on what is life, how to live a good life, and this is valid whether it's ancient Egypt, the Inca, the Mayan, the Aztec - or the indigeneous Inuit, Iroquois, Cree, Dobe !Kung or Masai.

Posted by: ET at May 27, 2012 10:22 AM

fiddle - it is logically impossible to prove a negative.

So, why would you ask someone to do that? Since you call it ignorance, and all...

...prove that Aristotle, Plato, Homer, Cicero etc, and the rest of these ancient communities, did not on their own, develop a moral ideology...

Posted by: fiddle at May 27, 2012 10:33 AM

You must admit that ET is really a poor debater. She provides no evidence of her own. She constantly appeals to authority and asks her opponent to prove a negative. Bad form all around. Then of course she now alleges that post modernism is simply another name for skepticism! BWhahahahahaha. I am a skeptic when it comes to anything ET or much of the academic crowd says but I certainly am not a post modernist. I can't be a post modernist because I believe there is an objective reality that exists beyond me and my petty delusions. I believe that reality is there for me to explore and draw conclusions from based on my own experience. Which is why I don't slavishly follow academe. Yes they can be a source but they are not THE source. Their knowledge and understanding is just as limited as mine. They have their blind spots, bigotries, agendas etc and are therefore untrustworthy as a sole source for information. ET's blindness toward religion is one such instance. She asserts that the wealth of the society changes the societies religion. I would assert that religion changes the wealth of the society. Casual observation shows how changing the worldview (religion) of one individual will elevate his prosperity. On a larger scale you can see the same pattern in Israel. Take a look at the transformation that has taken place in that region since 1948. You can even see the difference from satellite pictures. Why is one side of a line lush and green while the other side is dun brown? Religion. One side believes that they are working with their God to make this world a better place. The other side believes that they exist at the whim of a capricious god whose will is unknowing and constantly changing.

Posted by: Joe at May 27, 2012 10:34 AM

fiddle (sigh) - that's just the point. You don't get it, or are trying to slither out of your own accountability.

Look up argumentum ad ignorantiam.

Glacierman insists that all peoples had no morality but developed it only from the Judaic. I've asked him to prove that these ancient peoples had no morality until the Judaic - and he can't do this!

Posted by: ET at May 27, 2012 10:38 AM

joe - what is my 'appeal to authority'? Kindly give some examples.

I don't ask anyone to prove a negative. I've asked Glacierman to prove that the Greeks, Romans and other ancients all developed their moral codes, not on their own, but, as he claims, from the Judaic. To justify his claim, he has to show that their code is copied from the Judaic - that's not a negative claim.

I certainly don't claim that postmodernism is another term for scepticism, but reject that assertion. I suggest that you read what I wrote.

Your view about the relation between economics and ideology (religion) wherein you declare that religion dominates the economy is your view; you have no factual evidence to support it and 'casual observation' is not scientific knowledge.

No, the lushness of the Israeli side isn't due to their religion; it's strictly due to irrigation; the Israelis control the water sources and water supplies. You might try reading up on this; water is a major resource problem in the Middle East.

Posted by: ET at May 27, 2012 10:52 AM

KevinB said: "But perhaps you studied statistics in Quebec..."

No need to be unpleasant Kevin. I did some very rough figuring based on China's present 1.5 billion population. If I'm wrong then I'm wrong, but I will restate my reasoning.

30 million -mothers- didn't die. Mostly the weakened and infirm died of malnutrition in areas that were having a drought in those years already, because people who should have been irrigating were misdirected to running backyard "smelters". The people doing the dying were not -in the main- the same ones that would have been having the babies, right? Some, yes. Significant portion of the total cohort, no.

Infant mortality increased for sure, but I think you'll find the birthrate in those famine zones did not decrease much, if at all. Also not all areas of China suffered starvation, so some of the country would see both birthrate and infant mortality remain the same. Furthermore any drop in birthrate during the years of the Great Leap Forward was more than made up when proper food production resumed.

Proven out by the lack of variation in the birthrate statistics of the time, and the fact that China went from 660 million then to 1.5 billion now.

The point made in the video is that birthrate and population growth are highest where conditions are the worst: subsistence farming, drought, war, disease, famine. To the extent that religion and government policy cause these conditions they affect birthrate, but as we know religion and government don't really "control" that stuff, even though they can create those conditions while trying to do something else. See Zimbabwe.

The Great Leap Forward killed a lot of people, and the One Child policy killed a lot of babies, but -apparently-, neither did much of anything to change China's population growth. Industrialization and mechanized food production did that.

Posted by: The Phantom at May 27, 2012 11:00 AM

Your view about the relation between economics and ideology (religion) wherein you declare that religion dominates the economy is your view; you have no factual evidence to support it and 'casual observation' is not scientific knowledge.

Countries with a Christian heritage are the richest and freest and the most powerful in the world. ET says this is just a coincidence.

So much for the wisdom of ET.

Posted by: fiddle at May 27, 2012 11:03 AM

...all societies develop normative standards of belief and behaviour.

Ever heard of the word 'unalienable'?

Posted by: fiddle at May 27, 2012 11:07 AM

Please ET go back and actually read what you write for a change.

QUOTE ET "prove that Aristotle, Plato, Homer, Cicero etc, and the rest of these ancient communities, did not on their own".

Can you read that? That says PROVE they DID NOT. You are asking for others to prove a negative.

As for the rest of your drivel there is no point in further discussion since you simply make it up as you go along disguising your ignorance wth academic tones.

Tell me how does a person spend as many years as you have in institutes of higher learning and still manage to be so intellectually incurious? Must be hell living in a mental trap so encrusted with your own intellectual inconsistencies that you can't even step out and catch a breath of fresh air when one is offered. Have you sought help for that? Do you think you should?

Posted by: Joe at May 27, 2012 11:12 AM

Oh BTW ET believes the Arabs are too stupid to water their plants.

Posted by: Joe at May 27, 2012 11:15 AM

fiddle - what you ignore is that the Christian religion emerged as a market-based settled economy developed in the Roman empire. It focused around constructive economic interaction with others rather than the adversarial isolate tribalism of before, and around an individual rather than collectivist economic mode. That is, the ideology developed from the economic infrastructure, not the other way around.

You also ignore that the west, which is the zone of Christianity, is the richest ecological biome on the planet and therefore, an economy based on surplus and growth became basic and enabled both a rise in population, and the resultant development of a middle class and democracy. The economy is basic, the ideology simply supports it.

Joe, what is puzzling is how someone, who so adamantly insists on his being a deeply religious person, a Christian, is so quick to personally and viciously insult others who disagree with him. Is this how you express your religious devotion?

And no, the arabs are not too stupid to irrigate their fields; they don't have legal access to the water to do so. I suggest you read up on the water situation in the Middle East.

Posted by: ET at May 27, 2012 11:45 AM

ET said: "Postmodernism rejects realism and inserts man as the agential power of defining reality."

ET, I bow to your kung-fu. That one single sentence perfectly captures the fatal flaw of Postmodernism. That's the best deflation of those PoMo poseurs that I've ever seen. Always hated Foucault, now I can pinpoint why. I'm stealing that and posting it on my blog right now. Awesome.

You guys hassling ET, you're -way- out of your league. ET is Stanley Cup, you boys are road hockey.

Posted by: The Phantom at May 27, 2012 11:49 AM

From Hans Rosling's Foundation's website:

"The object of the Foundation shall be to promote sustainable global development and achievement of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals by increased use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development at local, national and global levels."

Posted by: Leslie at May 27, 2012 11:50 AM

Unfortunately the title of the lecture is a bit of red herring.
He did not give data on families in each religions (say jewish ortodox, catholic, muslim, hindu) and compare the childbirth in families in all religions. (of course taking into consideration economic status of families and the country's development).
He did not compare data on religious families versus atheist families
He did not give data on secular countries and compare these data with countries which are mostly religious
What he did was to show that economy has impact on childbirth, however that was all he showed.
The word "religion" in his title was the only link to religion in his lecture.

Posted by: ella at May 27, 2012 12:17 PM

ET, thanks for your rebuttals, you are doing well in answering the questions, although you are haven't really gone as deeply as I would have hoped. The proving of a negative is classic progressive speak!

You are well read, have grasped many of the ancient writings, have obviously done a lot of research and quoted many of the classic writings concepts and assimilated them.

But, I have THE question for you. Have you taken the Bible and read it as a historical document, not just a religious one?

I will wait for your answer as I do not want to assume it. Then I will get back to you as you have asked.

Posted by: glacierman at May 27, 2012 1:08 PM

...what you ignore is that the Christian religion emerged as a market-based settled economy...That is, the ideology developed from the economic infrastructure, not the other way around.

Easy to say while ignoring the rules of commerce established during the time of Moses. To which, Christians adhered to...

You guys hassling ET, you're -way- out of your league. ET is Stanley Cup, you boys are road hockey.

To an ant, anything ant-like is major league.

Posted by: fiddle at May 27, 2012 1:15 PM

fiddle, you're not even road hockey today. You're playing tiddly winks in the corner with the cat.

Posted by: The Phantom at May 27, 2012 1:30 PM

glacierman - it is very difficult to read the bible as a reasonably accurate historical document. It is equally difficult to read modern documents of events that are current as accurate, for all narratives are just that - narratives - and have to be supported by physical and statistical rather than verbal evidence.

The tales told in the bible, referring to various peoples, going back at least 10-12 centuries, ie, to the beginning of settled agricultural economies - must have some valid historical basis but what is questioned is - how much is history and how much is narrative. I'm not a classicist or archaeologist and don't claim to know. I'll only conclude that a great deal is interpretive narrative.

The more modern events, of the BC/AD era are far more historically reliable, from other accounts of the era and from archaeological evidence. Since I'm an atheist, I don't accept the various miracles and etc.

What I find interesting is to explore the economic and political infrastructure of an era, to see the type of supportive ideology (religion) that would emerge to bolster and validate the deeper infrastructure. So, I analyze the emergence of Judaism, Christianity and Islam, as ideological superstructures that validate deeper economic infrastructures.

In my view, Judaism was a movement into settlements rather than an itinerant wandering economy - and it's based around the work of the women. Christianity is an ideology supporting large market economies that trade with other tribes and groups and requires an ideology of individual responsibility, collaboration and acceptance. Islam is a militant reaction of a nomadic economy whose required land base was being intruded upon by market settlements and trade routes.

You can, in my view, see this in their basic documents - but I read them as narratives rather than factual accounts.

Posted by: ET at May 27, 2012 1:33 PM

Well ET once upon a time a young farmer was hauling a load of grain to market when in the middle of a mud puddle the mules pulling his wagon stopped short. It didn't matter how much he yelled or shook the reins the mules just wouldn't move. It just so happened an old farmer came along and saw the young man cussin' out the mules to no avail. The old farmer told the young feller that you don't get the mules to move by yelling at them you talk gently to them. The young man handed the old man the reins and told him that if he was so smart he could get the mules out of the mud puddle. The old farmer walked over to the tree lined ditch found a suitable club came back and smacked both mules between the ears. Getting on the wagon with a gentle giddy up the mules lurched forward. The young farmer was flabbergasted. What about the gentleness he demanded. Well sometimes you just have to get the mules attention first replied the old farmer. You're like those stubborn mules and I am just trying to get your attention. I don't hate you but I do despise the condescension you heap on everyone who disagrees with you. They have legitimate points of view that you refuse to acknowledge as having legitimacy. You ignore all the evidence and instead insert some cockamamie theory that only tangentially addresses the reality we are discussing.

For example you go on spouting nonsense like the Arabs didn't irrigate because they didn't have legal rights to water. Pre 1948 the Arabs living in Palestine didn't have water yeah sure what ever there ET. IF that were true then the only people keeping them from having water were Arabs. Well why would that be? Maybe because their religion allows them to callously disregard the plight of fellow human beings?!

The point you so cavalierly ignore is that time and time and time again you can find examples of the same area of land occupied by the same ethnic tribe where one tribe is prospering and one tribe is starving. What is the difference? One tribe has a different religion than the other.

Now why do you disregard it? Its likely not because you lack the intelligence to see the pattern. Its likely not because you lack the evidence. Its most likely because you can't/won't get over your proud bigotry that you begin each discussion with "I'm an atheist". So what you're an atheist. What has that got to do with the price of tea in China? You subscribe to the atheist religion big hairy deal. It still has nothing to do with the fact that religion, which ever one you choose, has an effect on society, the size of family and the way we interact with each other. Religion matters. If it didn't you could easily be a Christian or a Hindu or a Muslim and likely switch week by week. You can't do that! Why not? Because your religion is atheism which mistakenly believe entitles you to denigrate all other religions and thought patterns. It just ain't so. You are not an impartial observer or commentator you are a fully invested religionist trying to shout down anyone who subscribes to a different religion than yours.

Your religion, for example, has closed your mind to that reality. However that is simply your religion and not necessarily true.

Posted by: Joe at May 27, 2012 1:39 PM

ET, thanks for the classic non-answer, answer.

Have you actually, personally read the Bible as a historical document?

This is your last chance.

Posted by: glacierman at May 27, 2012 1:45 PM

Your insignificant opinion is quite important. Add a couple dollars and I can buy a cup of coffee.

To anyone who thinks Christianity didn't exist before Christ walked the earth as a man, think again. Every one of the prophets foretold the coming Saviour. Right down to what He would be wearing and the method of execution.

Posted by: fiddle at May 27, 2012 1:46 PM

Folks you have to realize that ET is a fully invested religionist. Her religion is atheism and she is every bit as block headed about it as the most fundamentalist Muslim. Don't present facts, don't provide evidence. Her mind is so closed you couldn't open it with a stick of dynamite. Oh she'll deny it and try to hide it behind a smoke screen of academic bafflegab but to any impartial observer ET is arguing light is dark because she doesn't like light.

Posted by: Joe at May 27, 2012 2:02 PM

Leslie said: "From Hans Rosling's Foundation's website:

"The object of the Foundation shall be to promote sustainable global development"

Sustainable development is a creepy code-word for left-wing thinking. It translates roughly to "I will continue to live the way I wish, while you will have to live with less because I am morally superior to you."

There are strong connections between the psychology of "sustainable development" and those religions that enrich a few at the top at the expense of the believers.

Rosling should have included the "sustainable development" religion in his talk, given that it appears from the foundation's statement that he adheres to it.

Posted by: TJ at May 27, 2012 5:23 PM

Thankfully PM Harper got rid of the long form census. The information is only used to further intrude upon our lives by the atheist social engineers who have no understanding of our Christian heritage.

Posted by: fiddle at May 27, 2012 6:19 PM

TJ, the mission statement from Hans Rosling's Foundation website says exactly where he is coming from. This innocuous phrase has been hijacked by leftist minded people to obscure their real agenda. In a previous time the phrase was quite understandable, but now has become a code phrase.

Joe, not to get too picky, but I have met some Christians among our faith circles, who while well meaning, are pretty block headed and quite obnoxious. Blockheadedness is not restricted to only some persuasions.

I have to repeat, that while I do not have any statistical data to support what I say, among the thousands of people I have had contact with here, in Alberta and in southern Manitoba, the more fundamentalist a family is, the more children they have irrespective of family wealth. Those groups within the bigger group that have become more secularized and are more educated have fewer children.

Posted by: Ken (Kulak) at May 27, 2012 9:55 PM

Yup, goes right along with Christians being more charitable. The stronger the Christian, the more charitable.

Posted by: fiddle at May 27, 2012 10:17 PM

Hey you've met them too eh Ken (Kulak). You are absolutely right about every belief system having those who are completely intransigent about their particular 'reality'. I have had my go 'rounds with 'the devil made me do it' crowd more than once.

The point with ET is that she filters everything through the same limited lens. Kind of like the ACW crowd saying only CO2 causes global warming then calling in experts like Al Gore as proof positive of that position.

My take has always been that the direction of every society is driven by many many factors materialism being just one and religion being just one other. To limit the driver of change to materialism is just as foolish as saying it is all religion. In fact limiting the discussion to only materialism and religion is almost as foolish. There are a myriad of factors that go into determining societal change many unseen and most unpredictable. It is one of the joys of living and it is the bane of the erstwhile social engineers.

Posted by: Joe at May 27, 2012 11:29 PM

One other thing I agree with you on Ken (Kulak) is the degree of faith determining the size of the family more than material wealth. I too have noticed that the more materialistic the person is the fewer children they have and the more spiritual the person is the larger the family. That being said some, for spiritual reasons, forgo marriage and childbearing altogether which kind of proves the point I was making in the previous post.

Posted by: Joe at May 27, 2012 11:40 PM

There are a myriad of factors that go into determining societal change many unseen and most unpredictable. It is one of the joys of living and it is the bane of the erstwhile social engineers.

Yup, the 'invisible hand'. The economy is not the only place it's at work. Regardless of the blinkered view of ET.

Posted by: fiddle at May 28, 2012 3:05 AM

Joe, in ET's defence, you do come across quite bitter and condescending.

We know the Bible says the fool says in their heart there is no God. So let it be.

Common wisdom proverb says "A man (woman) convinced against his will is of the same opinion still."

Proverbs 15:5 says "A fool despiseth his father's instruction: but he that regardeth reproof is prudent"

Finally the Bible says Romans 14:1 "Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations."

The pretext is to let them be, and receive them with love. Love is THE most powerful force in the universe, so overcome evil with good, or love in this case.

A good debate I enjoy, but not browbeating no matter who is correct.

Posted by: johnbrooks at May 29, 2012 8:41 PM

Of course ET considers the Bible a historical document. It has dates, times, and places that can be rectified.

Does ET consider the Bible Divinely inspired? Of course not, else she'd be Agnostic.

So why are we asking these questions?

Atheists by Webster definition is:

1 archaic : ungodliness, wickedness

2 a: a disbelief in the existence of deity
b: the doctrine that there is no deity

ET definitely is religious as Atheism was declared a religion - United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Aug. 2005

A good read on Atheism is found at:
http://www.atheism-analyzed.net/aap2.htm

Atheism is based on just one premise: “There is no deity.” (1)

Note that this is not a positive declaration of the existence of something. It is the declaration of the absence of something. It is a rejection, a cutting loose, a release from, existing precepts. It does not involve embracing a precept; it involves rejection of undesired precepts. Thus it declares, not a new truth, but the rejection of existing truth. It produces, not substance, but a void. So one might be justified in declaring that the Logical Truth of Atheism is a void. Actually the void is filled with self, where the mind, source of all truth, is supreme.

Posted by: johnbrooks at May 29, 2012 8:56 PM

No pointing or picking on ET or anyone of that belief system, but sometimes we just don't know what an Atheist believes. I don't, so the only source I have besides some little tid bits that 'God doesn't exist', what do they believe?

While I'm sure there is other sources, I found the quotes from atheism-analyzed.net very interesting and open to believe this is not what a true Atheist believes. I have to ask how can an Atheist believe in anything but themselves, physics, and Newton's law of motion?

Wait, Newton was a Christian, nix that one.

------

Belief in nothing is a belief without proof, a leap of faith. And because self-validation is an act of Godellian illogic, Atheism is a blind leap into illogic…the very definition of “religion” that Atheist’s love!

The answer is clearly “yes”, Atheism is, in fact, a religion. And it develops its own sets of rules to govern it. One such set is Secular Humanism, also legally declared a religion. Other rabid Atheist groups have their own sets of rules. So Atheism, the “anti-religion”, despite flimsy denials, is a religion. It is auto-pagan (self worship)…Narcissism.

Posted by: johnbrooks at May 29, 2012 9:05 PM
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