MANN TALK: On Thomas Malthus and Population Growth

by Perry Mann
 “Christians simply leave it in the hands of God.” A quote from a Catholic Father regarding the threat to all of us drowning in the swarm of us; that is, Homo sapiens.

 He takes issue with an editorial in which the writer described the human race as a swarm. The word swarm applied to people offended the Father. He believes that humans are different from all other life in that God specially birthed them and endowed them with a soul. And where does he get such knowledge? Where else but the Bible. And who wrote the Bible? Why the very people that evolved with all the other species and that awoke in consciousness to believe that they were specially created.

 He repeats what I and all others have heard and read all our lives:  Humans are not just another animal species, with no more nobility than an insect. “This belief is in opposition to the Judeo-Christian creed that persons are created in the image of God and possess an infinite dignity.” And who created the creed? Humans. Why would I not presume that I am the image of a god and that an insect is rightfully zipped away as a pest? The presumption that bees are swarms and humans are populations possessed with infinite dignity has no scientific basis. It is pure myth fathered by anthropocentrism. Humans are swarms and the swarms of them should concern the Father.

 When I was forty the population of the planet was 3 billion people. Today at age ninety it is 7 billion and the prospect is that by 2050 it will be 10 billion. I will not live to see such a swarm and the misery of it.  

 “Niger’s population is set to increase from 14 million to 80 million in 2050 if current fertility remains the same—an unthinkable scenario in a country already unable to feed itself, facing widespread destruction of local ecosystems, mass poverty, underemployment and massive dependence on foreign aid. Without major investments of family planning, the outlook is bleak.” 

 And where does the Father stand on family planning? Why any form of contraception is an affront to his god. It blocks the meeting of egg and sperm and thus kills the potential of their uniting and creating a two-cell thing, or zygote, with a soul. Where does the Father find the basis for this belief?  Why, in a book written by humans

The Father takes issue with Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theory and its survival-of-the-fittest concept. How can an educated person today not accept Darwin’s theory as fact and the account in Genesis as myth? And accept that humans are just another species of life that is kin to all other life. The DNA, or genetic makeup, of a mouse is 90 percent the same as the DNA of a human. A chimpanzee’s is 98 percent identical with that of a human.  

Father: “Karl Marx states that each person must surrender his or her good for the good of the whole species. Christians believe the individual person possesses an innate right to life and happiness.”

If the Sermon on the Mount were converted into a Constitution, the result would reflect Marx’s concept more than that of capitalistic Christians’ concept of the right regard of a human for other humans. “And if any man sue thee at the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloke also.”  

Christians believe that God created humans and gave them a free will. That is, they can, divorced from history, freely choose to do this and not that and choose to be virtuous or evil. Those who choose to do good go to Heaven and those who choose to do wrong go to Hell, unless they have conformed to certain ecclesiastic exercises.  God didn’t say through any of his saints that if problems arise--- relax and leave it in His hands.

For anyone, particularly a member of a Catholic entity, to know that there is ongoing a disaster in which millions of people are starving or dying fighting over the necessities for staying alive and to say the answer to the problem is to leave it in the hands of God---exhibits obtuseness and a presumption void of a rational basis and filled with an implausible hypothesis irrational held.

 Father: “Like Pastor Harold Camping’s recent prediction of the end, secularists continue to predict our doom.” Liking Camping’s prediction of the Rapture with Thomas Malthus’s warning that population was increasing at a rate that would result in widespread starvation  is comparing a not so stable and an unstable wide-eyed  preacher who talks with God---to a very different sort of being; that is, a learned man with feet on the ground and reason in his head.

Malthus was right in his prediction. Man with science to help has postponed Malthus’ dire warning that population will increase faster than food for the millions can be provided. But the increase in people in many areas of the earth has resulted in starvation or near starvation and certainly in millions suffering lack of adequate nutrition. It’s a condition that will escalate year after year, if the Father’s worldview prevails.

Tell those millions Father: “Christians simply leave it in the hands of God.” And hope that Christ does not read those words. The Carpenter died because He would not leave ill alone.  

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