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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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

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