SCIENCE: by Bill MuehlenbergNews Weekly
Cull the human race - Australian scientist
, February 3, 2007
ABC radio listeners were astonished recently to hear a Melbourne neuroscientist coolly suggest that "drastic" and "painful" measures were needed to halve the world's human population. Bill Muehlenberg reports.Who says ideas do not have consequences? Ideas are not just neutral, ethereal concepts with no bearing on life. Quite the contrary. Bad ideas have bad consequences. And good ideas have good consequences.
One very bad idea which leads to some very nasty consequences is materialistic reductionism. This is the idea that only matter matters. It is a severely reductionist way of looking at reality, and is the basis of many harmful worldviews, such as Marxism.
A good example of the ugly consequences of lousy ideas came out late last year in the ABC Radio National program Ockham's Razor
, hosted by Robyn Williams (December 10, 2006).
The program featured a talk by Melbourne neuroscientist Dr John Reid. Williams, with hardly a word of comment, simply reproduced a talk Reid had given earlier.
Reid's talk is essentially a call for the extermination of much of humanity - all in the name of humanity of course. Whenever someone starts chirping on about humanity, it usually means he or she has no real concern for individual humans. Stalin is a good case in point. Reid seems to be no different.
Reid is convinced that planet earth is grossly overpopulated, and unless we take some radical steps, like culling the human race, we are all doomed. I kid you not. Let me give you his own words on the issue.
Reid begins his talk - which he entitled "Apocalypse Now" - by offering the usual doomsday scenarios: "The fact is, Planet Earth cannot support the present human population." And he makes clear early on that he shares the worldview of the philosophical naturalists. He says:
"Many people would say the character that most distinguishes human beings from all other animals is language. I suggest the only attribute that really distinguishes our species from all others is our ability to delude ourselves.
"Human beings are self-deluders. We can convince ourselves, in the face of irrefutable evidence to the contrary, that black is white and heat can flow from a cooler to a hotter body.
"It is this power of self-delusion that leads us to believe that somehow we will find a way to fix the problem of our unsustainable consumption of the Earth's resources."
Then he starts to let the cat out of the bag:
"I believe the problem of overconsumption/overpopulation will not be solved by civil means." Ah yes! We have heard this before from the coercive utopians. Reid tells us how our problems can be overcome, offering the usual list of socialist solutions.
He says we will have to reject the belief in "steady economic growth". Instead, we "in the affluent world will have to accept substantial reductions in our standard of living. …
"To achieve this, income and wealth distribution within our societies will have to become much more equal. The higher up the tree one is, the greater the sacrifice one will have to make."
This is all bad news if you happen to drive a car: the fleet of fossil-fuel-burning motor vehicles "will have to be reduced to no more than about 10 per cent of the present number". Will this be voluntary, or at the barrel of a gun? And will Reid be the first to give up his car?
But wait, there's more! Reid continues:
"Perhaps water meters, that turn off automatically after a household's daily ration of water has been consumed, will be fitted to every house. Meat will be rationed to no more than, say, 200 grams per person per week."
And just to make sure that we have not missed his socialist and coercive agenda, he tells us:
"And private property rights will be severely curtailed to prevent landowners from engaging in environmentally-damaging behaviours. And many, many more such infringements on what we now regard as our rights will have to be accepted."Stripped of rights
Nice of him to so glibly suggest how many rights must be stripped away from us. And we trust that he will be leading by example in all of this.
Now for the really totalitarian and barbaric side to Reid's proposals:
"The population of the world must be very quickly reduced to 5 billion (that is, if 6 billions equals 120 per cent of capacity, then 5 billions equals 100 per cent). And then, as the average level of affluence rises, fairly quickly reduced further to, say, 2 to 3 billion."
Well folks, there you have. Half of the human race needs to go. And will Reid be the first volunteer? Or will he be pulling the trigger of the machine-gun, or flipping the switch to release the poison gas? Funny, but all this someone sounds strangely - and eerily - familiar.
He is not just being rhetorical here. He is deadly serious. He says people will never voluntarily stop breeding, so more drastic measures will be needed.
"There is only a limited number of ways population decrease can be achieved," Reid says. He admits: "These ways are all painful, and most are brutally painful in their effect."
For starters, he makes this suggestion: "One small, but appropriate, token gesture would be to ban immediately all forms of assisted conception, including the use of donated sperm or ova."
He then ups the ante: "The next most human way to reduce the population might be to put something in the water, a virus that would be specific to the human reproductive system and would make a substantial proportion of the population infertile. Perhaps a virus that would knock out the genes that produce certain hormones necessary for conception."
And the rich get to go first: "The world's most affluent populations should be targeted first. According to the 2006 Living Planet Report
, the six populations that have the biggest per capita ecological footprint live in the United Arab Emirates, the United States of America, Finland, Canada, Kuwait, and Australia."
Since Reid lives in one of these countries, will he simply pop a suicide pill, or take a more "humanitarian" view, and try to take as many people with him, as in a suicide-bombing?
But, hey, it all sounds good to me. After all, we are no different from animals, or slugs, or microbes, according to the accepted Darwinian wisdom. So I guess there is no problem in treating human beings as a disease to be eradicated.
But Reid is not finished yet. The elderly will of course be a big problem as well.
He says: "Societies will not be able to provide the healthcare services needed to keep large numbers of unhealthy old people alive. A triage approach will be necessary so that scarce medical resources go to those who can contribute most to the long-term viability of the planet. Consequently, many middle-aged-to-elderly people will die uncomfortable deaths. Not every problem is solvable."
Gee, thanks, John, for those comforting and reassuring words! But, heck, it's only humanity we are talking about here - faceless masses who do not amount to a hill of beans in this goo-to-you evolutionary world.
Reid finishes his cheery picture on the fate of humanity with a misotheistic rant:
"My plea is that we should face reality and begin to discuss the unspeakable. Humanity must undergo a mind-shift. If you must have a God, at least recognise he/she/it did not give humanity licence to trash the planet, whatever the Bible may tell you. Indeed, humanity has been all too compliant with the Biblical injunction to be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth.
"The precepts of the Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, represent the quintessential perversion of the human mind. They must be abandoned and the notion of the sanctity of human life must be subjugated to the greater sanctity of all life on Earth."
Well, there you have it, folks. The "sanctity of all life" - whatever that means - trumps mere humanity any day of the week. Let's wipe out half of the human race in the name of humanity, of a better future. These are the ugly consequences of ugly ideas. And Reid is lecturing us
about the "perversion of the human mind"?
Of course, Reid is not alone in such proposals. Paul Ehrlich uttered similar thoughts back in the '60s. And, more recently, evolutionary ecologist Eric Pianka told a Texas audience that 90 per cent of the world's population should be eliminated by an airborne Ebola virus. He received a standing ovation for his humane remarks. ("Scientist calls for death to humanity", News Weekly
, April 15, 2006).
And, of interest, all that ABC host Robyn Williams could do as he ended the broadcast was to say, "Some startling suggestions there from John Reid, who lives in Melbourne."Chilling
Thanks, John Reid and Robyn Williams, for giving us, in such cold, clinical and chilling detail, the fruit of your materialist worldview. It is always refreshing to hear out of the horses' mouths the savage proposals that flow from an anti-theistic worldview.
Right now, these men mainly propagate their ugly belief systems in the public arena. Pray that they do not take control of the political processes, or we may see their brave new world forced on us all a lot sooner than expected.- Bill Muehlenberg is a commentator on contemporary issues, and lecturer in ethics and philosophy at several Melbourne theological colleges.