Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

Venerable Royal Society issues report calling for population control

Hilary White, Rome Correspondent
Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

LONDON, May 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – One of the world’s oldest and most venerated scientific institutions has joined the chorus of the population control movement, calling for a “stabilisation” of the human population, “reduction of fertility” in Africa and reduced consumption of energy in the developed world.

Meanwhile, the report is being blasted by critics who say it is nothing more than the same population-paranoia that has been sold for decades by the radical environmentalist movement, fuelled by bad science.

Launched two years ago, the Royal Society’s review of human population issues was to be “a comprehensive and scientific review of the evidence,” by a panel of 23 academics in economics, population studies and conservation sciences.

The report says that the world is headed for a “vortex of economic, socio-political and environmental ills,” if the developed, western countries do not reduce the energy they consume, and if the human population overall is not “reduced.”

“The number of people living on the planet has never been higher, their levels of consumption are unprecedented and vast changes are taking place in the environment,” the report says.

“We can choose to rebalance the use of resources to a more egalitarian pattern of consumption … or we can choose to do nothing and to drift into a downward spiral of economic and environmental ills leading to a more unequal and inhospitable future.

“Reproductive health and voluntary family planning programmes urgently require political leadership and financial commitment, both nationally and internationally. This is needed to continue the downward trajectory of fertility rates, especially in countries where the unmet need for contraception is high.”

The Royal Society is one of the oldest continuously running scientific organizations in the world, having been founded at the dawn of the modern age by a royal charter in 1660 by King Charles II. British governments have been using the Society as the lead consultant on scientific issues since 1775, and today the Society serves as the country’s national science academy, funding research fellowships and scientific start-up companies. The influence of the Royal Society is without peer, and its recommendations to governments are taken up not only in Britain but around the world.

Jules Pretty, a member of the working group that developed the population report, said there is a need to “reduce fertility” in poorer nations, particularly in Africa and to reduce the production of CO2 gases in the rich countries.

“When we slow down population growth we empower women and provide more money for least developed countries to invest in education. The majority of women want fewer children,” Pretty said.

The Royal Society has not revealed the background of all the members of the working group, but at least one is associated with an extremist population reduction organization. Jonathon Porritt is the former chair of Britain’s Sustainable Development Commission and a member of the Optimum Population Trust, the notorious pressure group that campaigns for governments to adopt enforced population reduction policies like China’s One Child policy.

Tom Worstall, a Senior Fellow at the Adam Smith Institute in London, lambasted the report as a “dismal failure,” arguing that it failed to take into account the complex relationships between population, resource availability, and economic growth.

“These sorts of errors would lead to a marking down in an undergraduate essay and to the failure of a PhD defence. The Royal Society should withdraw this report and work on fixing both the factual and logical errors before trying to tell the rest of us how to live our lives.”

The report drastically oversimplified the relationship between population and consumption of resources, he said. Far from being a simple matter of “handing out condoms to all and sundry,” the population issue is “actually a complex interaction of rising incomes, falling child mortality rates and even opportunity costs”.

He also accused the report of failing to take into account the fact that handing out condoms will not significantly slow down population growth in the most fertile countries that have not adopted the contraceptive mentality. Ninety percent of the world’s fertility, he said, is intentional. Demographers have noted that the countries that have embraced contraception as a lifestyle, those in North America, Europe and the Far East, are already experiencing negative population growth.

But it is in “the discussions of economic growth and resource consumption” that the report becomes “almost schizophrenic,” he said. The report calls for the transition to a “steady-state” economic model, but fails at the same time to understand what that means, Worstall said.

“A steady-state economy is not one in which growth stops: it is one in which resource use is limited but economic growth carries on indefinitely as we find new ways to add value to our limited resources.”

The report, in demanding the cessation of economic growth, fails also to make a distinction between “quantitative” growth, the simple increase in production of goods and services, and “qualitative growth,” what Worstall describes as “making better things out of those limited resources”.

“In fact,” he writes, “there is no environmental or resource limit to such growth at all – and that’s the same as growing GDP by increasing the value rather than the quantity produced.”

Raheem Kassam, a writer for the Wall Street Journal and an anti-extremism activist, wrote on The Commentator website, “Based on what can only be described as the irresponsible usage of population growth predictions, the Royal Society has sanctioned a report that both undermines its credibility and attempts to dupe Western consumers into remorse over our ‘lavish’ lifestyles.

“The Royal Society boasts that Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ernest Rutherford, Albert Einstein, Dorothy Hodgkin, Francis Crick and James Watson were life members. It is my contention that these innovators and pioneers would be embarrassed of the pessimistic approach taken by modern scientists, many of whom see themselves as activists and are indeed children of ideology rather than professionals with a commitment to the scientific method.”

Demographers maintain that the current rate of growth of the human population is set to decline rapidly over the next few decades. The experts say that the rate of growth is slowing markedly around the world and will level off at 8 to 9 billion by 2050 then start to decline. Among many governments in Europe, particularly those of former Soviet Bloc nations, there is increasing alarm at the demographic prospects. Fewer babies inevitably means fewer workers and consumers for goods and services with consequently shrinking economies.

Some countries, like Italy and France, are starting to look at ways of propping up the birth rate by creating government baby bonuses while retaining legalized abortion and widespread use of artificial contraceptives. In other countries, like Russia, where the problem of population shrinkage is already being seen, are looking at limiting abortion access.


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

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By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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