Birth Control

I’m not quite clear about your stance on birth control. You say in The Story of B that you have no problem with birth control. But at the end of Ishmael, the student implies that we live in the society we live in because we don’t want to live at the mercy of the gods.

However, birth control seems to me to be a matter of trying not to live at the hands of the gods. It seems as though it is a contradiction to say that we create problems by refusing to live in the hands of the gods, but at the same time saying you have no problem with people using birth control.

I guess I would most like you to clear up your stance on your feelings toward the use of artificial contraception.

I have a question about the World Health Organization and their policy on world population growth. Every time I discuss population growth and solutions with other people, I meet the same argument over and over again, which goes approximately like this: “The WHO estimates the population growth to rise to around 12 billion people and then stabilize there in 2050-60. (The numbers flux a bit.)

This is “proof” that family planning works, the problem is under control, and all talk about collapse is just silly cultism.” Well, they are right.

The WHO really DO think the world population will stabilize at 12 billion. They probably have heaps of scientific reports to prove this right, and a crowd of experts that assure us of this fact, and therefore there is no cause for alarm. The collapse of mankind will NOT come.

My question is, therefore, What is your view on the WHO policy on population growth, and what do you answer when you get hit over your head with all that expert-talk?

The basic idea is that when our human population grows large enough, we will run out of resources, most important of which is food. Have you considered though, that as our population grows, humans themselves will become a food source to other humans?

Of course, our population may be growing too fast for our beliefs about the “sanctity of human life” to change enough to tolerate cannibalism. But what do you think about the possibility? Might we simply become a cannibalistic society and continue on our normal course?

A central and repeatedly stated assertion of the two Quinn books I read is that at some time humans lived in a stable equilibrium. That is not a worldview, that is an assertion of fact. A particular fact that is problematic in proving, yet Quinn claims to know it is true. He actually waters it down at one point and says that human population did grow steadily before some arbitrary level of agricultural innovation, but that it was slower than in recent times. My question is: Why should I believe that modern humans ever existed in a stable equilibrium? I believe that the growth rate has not been constant, yet how could I know that the early history of humans is fundamentally different from exponential growth in which growth is relatively slow for a long time early on?

Even if we live tribally (in the sense you use the word in Beyond Civilization), aren’t we still going to crash just as fast as if we work for a hierarchical corporation? We’re still dependent on agriculture. What is to stop the new tribalism from damaging the planet just as much as civilization, provided that we’re still dependent on growing all of our own food?

When I talk to people about controlling the population of the Earth, the subject of birth control often comes up as a potential solution. I can say all I want that “birth control might work on an individual level, but it doesn’t work on a group level,” but I don’t really have any facts to back up this claim. What arguments can I put forth to back up the claim that birth control won’t work to control our population as a whole?

With regard to population, when the 6 billionth person was born, one of the writers for National Review tried to put this into perspective and reveled that if all 6 billion people lived in the state of Texas, each of them would have an eighth of an acre to him/herself. This doesn’t seem like too many people to me. Any comments?

Yes, but how are the strategies proposed in Beyond Civilization supposed to eliminate pollution, overpopulation, crime, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, poverty, police brutality, political corruption, racism, child abuse, violence against women, homophobia, pornography, violence in film and music, exploitation of the elderly, date rape, judicial malfeasance, insider trading, road rage, and media bias?

OK, I understand that there are biological mechanisms that are inherent in species that allow them (via instinct, not awareness) to keep their populations at levels that tie in with the availability of their food supply. But what about the notion that humans can consciously choose to have or not have children as a way of population control? I contend that if we don’t use conscious awareness as a means of limiting our population, the mechanisms that other animals use (ie, those animals who do not have the same level of conscious awareness as humans) may not work or be enough.