Oh, restricting IVF will save us from overpopulation, pestilence, war and famine?

A fairly extraordinary email I received this afternoon objecting to the Australian Family Lobby’s support for equal access to IVF technology:

No IVF treatment

I am pro-family until it conflicts with our survival. I’m for equal access to IVF treatment. However, since one of our problems is an ever increasing population my view of IVF treatment is that no one should have access to it. That would be equal treatment and considering the planet.

To which I shot back:

Any other medical technologies you think should be withdrawn from public use because it would be better for “the ever-increasing population” if the patients just died?

Oh, that’s completely different, replies my interlocutor, outlining the terrible consequence of providing medical assistance for infertile couples:

People will not just die if one does not allow IVF. We can try to keep our population within limits rationally or we can allow pestilence, war and famine to do the job.

Seriously? (People won’t die if you refuse them hip operations, either, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea.) So the aim is stopping extra children being born, is it? Well, then –

So you’re advocating a one-child policy? Restrictions on permission for having kids?

Or are you just discriminating against those with infertility issues?

I’ll let you know how my new friend answers that.

UPDATE: Ah, it’s laissez-faire population reduction:

I advocate no aid to infertility. I am also for more education for women. That lowers the birth rate. One can lower the birth rate without introducing compulsion. I am not for forced abortion or other compulsion. I would give tax breaks for people of child bearing age who have fewer children. I favor education as to the consequences of increasing population.

We have many desires which are programmed into us. They all don’t have to be satisfied. When we were living in a hunter-gatherer society we might overeat because we would be uncertain when we would have our next meal. Now we have a problem with obesity. When we were living in conditions with a high infant mortality we would have many children so that some of them would survive. Just as we have to control our desire to eat to prevent obesity in the current society we should also control our desire to have children.

We also can listen to nature. It is possible that those with infertility issues are more likely to produce children with mental or physical problems. Perhaps they shouldn’t reproduce.

To repeat: We can try to keep our population within limits rationally or we can allow pestilence, war and famine to do the job.

I see:

Let’s be honest here – correct me if I’m wrong, but I’d bet good money that you do advocate aids to pregnancy. You advocate the provision of public hospitals with obstetrics departments and all manner of other medical services necessary to assist women to have children. You do not demand that they “listen to nature” and be blocked from access to modern medical technologies.

No, it’s only those who require the assistance of the IVF procedure to have children where you decide the line must arbitrarily be drawn. Where medical technology must be denied.

Why? Because your family never needed it? (How many kids do you have, if you don’t mind me asking?)

It’s disingenuous for you to pretend that you’re particularly concerned about overpopulation, because IVF conceptions are a tiny proportion of births in Australia each year. If you were really concerned about pestilence and death from overpopulation, you’d be advocating doing something about all those other births – but you’re not. You’re just picking on the people with medical issues with which you don’t empathise, as if they should shoulder the burden of your feigned fears.

PS Your claims about infertile people being “likely to produce children with mental or physical problems” are offensive garbage.

PPS If you’re so opposed to technology, so determined for us to “listen to nature”, why are you sending messages from your computer over the telecommunications network using electricity generated in entirely artificial ways rather than physically running them over to me?

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46 responses to “Oh, restricting IVF will save us from overpopulation, pestilence, war and famine?

  1. I have a much better idea, rather than stopping white people from having IVF why don’t we just kill off “welfare queens” and people who are unaustralian.

  2. …While we’re being insane.

  3. There is actually an interesting argument here: reproduction may be desired, and desirable, for some, but it’s hardly life or death. If it was needing a new hip or getting IVF, I know which I’d choose (were I a Shabadette). Personally I’d also like to see domestic adoption encouraged as it is in places like the US.

  4. Most medical services aren’t “life or death”, but that’s not a reason for us not to provide them.

    And adoption’s an entirely separate issue. (If we’re seriously worried about a lack of available homes, perhaps we might tackle permitting agencies to discriminate against willing, enthusiastic, capable parents on the grounds of sexuality.)

    The point here is forcing people who’ve got one particular medical problem (infertility) to entirely shoulder the burden for society’s population problems – no, you lot can adopt! You lot can reduce the birth-rate!

    What the hell is so different about IVF over any other medical techology? Other than the selfish “I never needed it” attitude of those who had their kids easily?

  5. I think we largely agree on this one. You can encourage more adoptions and not prejudice IVF. But once the state starts allocating limited resources to health, there’s a legitimate debate about priorities.

  6. My wife and I are thinking about using IVF … without medicare tho it won’t happen.

    And its a completely separate issue to adoption.

    Cheers jeremy.

  7. jordanrastrick

    Of course, not only is the logic that discriminates against the infertile some serious bullshit, the premises are wrong, too.

    Global population is projected to plateau in the medium term, not grow indefinitely.

    Oh, and the world isn’t currently overpopulated, either.

  8. Often used as a cover for class or racial anxiety.

    The “wrong” people are having too many children, apparently.

  9. ” If it was needing a new hip or getting IVF, I know which I’d choose (were I a Shabadette”

    I do love the assumption that IVF is only about the woman and is only needed because of wimmins problems. Every conversation I’ve ever seen has been predicated on that assumption.

    Also, obviously you’d choose a new hip over IVF. Most people would. But that’s like saying you’d choose heart surgery over having insulin provided to you. It’s not an either or.

  10. “Oh, and the world isn’t currently overpopulated, either.”

    7 billion (to be reached this year) isn’t too many? Then what number is? Earth doesn’t have infinite resources, and humans aren’t colonizing other worlds anytime soon.

    Comparing IVF with procedures like hip operations is spurious – a person who needs the latter will be in much pain and their condition will only worsen. Infertility isn’t a choice, but, as was mentioned above, it is not life or death – a person can still live a fulfilling life without reproducing.

  11. So, Suzy, you think overpopulation’s a real problem and you don’t mind restricting people’s reproductive choices to tackle it – because “a person can still live a fulfilling life without reproducing”. So – child licenses? A one-child policy?

    Since IVF procedures account for a tiny proportion of births in Australia, obviously banning those (or is it just making them prohibitively expensive so the rich can still have access to the medical technology, just not the poor?) isn’t going to seriously tackle this problem that worries you so, you must have some other proposals in mind.

    Or is it that overpopulation only bothers you when we’re talking about funding a medical procedure you don’t personally need, and the rest of the time overpopulation doesn’t really enter your head? Is your concern about overpopulation genuine, in which case what else are you proposing to do about it; or is it specious and insincere and only presented in order to justify discrimination against a group of people with a condition you don’t have?

    Why the hell should the small number of potential parents who require IVF to have kids shoulder the burden of tackling overpopulation for the rest of us?

    The only reasonable argument raised so far was by shabadoo: “But once the state starts allocating limited resources to health, there’s a legitimate debate about priorities.”

    That’s quite true. It’s just that the funding required to provide citizens who need to use IVF access to the medical technology is something that this country can afford, and should. Happy to forgo, say, the cut to stamp duty to pay for it.

    Denying people who could have kids and want to have kids the opportunity to have a family of their own where the technology exists might not cause an immediate physical pain like a hip operation (the point there was retorting to the asinine “hey, God/nature doesn’t want you to have kids, who are you to contradict His/her will BY USING EXISTING MEDICINE” argument), but nor does, say, deafness – but we still recognise that we should make available medical technology that allows some such people to hear.

    We don’t make physical pain the critical determination of whether a medical technology is going to be provided, and nor should we.

  12. Jeremy, while i personally oppose tax payer funded IVF for infertile couples, i agree that IVF is not a factor in over population.

    If we really want to tackle over population in Oz, we need to reduce our immigration intake. (Although obviously we still must fulfil our obligations to refugees and the families of migrants)

    “Oh, and the world isn’t currently overpopulated, either.”

    You’re dreaming jordanrastrick.

    “Groundwater Depletion Raises Likelihood of Global Food Crises”

    http://blogs.nationalgeographic.com/blogs/news/chiefeditor/2010/09/groundwater-depletion-food-crisis.html

    “Crop production cannot keep up with the predicted rise in demand. The supply of fresh water around the world cannot be increased by the levels which are necessary to offer every thirsty person relief. The result to this broad problem is likely to be a rise in famine that is so great that it challenges the imagination.”

    http://247wallst.com/2011/01/13/the-world-economic-forum-takes-stand-on-global-risks/

    You seem convinced that over population isn’t an issue Jordan. How did you come to this understanding?

  13. narcoticmusing

    I’m not sure Jeremy was suggesting there isn’t a population problem per se, rather, IVF isn’t exacerbating it.

    I think it is important to factor into the equation the potential SAVINGS for the community of parents who actually want and have to battle to have children. There is a massive cost to the public purse in dealing with unwanted children who are abused and/or neglected. In addition, these children (often born into poverty) then go on to further this cycle (indeed, the highest rate of breeding is in low-SES groups – not IVF users).

    Thus to curtail global over population and massive public purse costs relating to unwanted/abused/neglected children, we should not be targetting IVF users who want their children and are generally from wealthier, more educated backgrounds.

    Offensive suggestion? Of course. But I wanted to point out the flaw in the logic of some here re: IVF. My suggestion, albeit mockign, is no less offensive than discrimination of those who are infertile but would make great parents (and thus produce wonderful little economic units that benefit the community at large rather than cost it.)

  14. jordanrastrick

    Duncan, Suzy, and for that matter anyone else who’s with their apocalyptic view of the current number of human beings… let me ask you something.

    When do you think humans will seriously start to feel the affects of the overpopulation, ahem, crisis?

  15. “When do you think humans will seriously start to feel the affects of the overpopulation, ahem, crisis?”

    Did you even bother to follow the links i provided Jordan? Food security is the new black.

    We are already feeling the effects of overpopulation. Perhaps not in the first world, but food riots and shortages have become increasingly common over the past few years in developing nations. Im sure you can understand how instability in the developing world can impact on us here?

    Almost every aquifer used for irrigation is seriously depleted. This 18% of irrigated farmland produces 40% of global food supply.

    For example, 30% of irrigation water in the US is drawn from the Ogallala Aquifer (among others), which is being depleted at a rate far beyond its ability to recharge. It is inevitable that it will be depleted to a point where the region can no longer support irrigation.

    Do you have a suggestion as to how we can continue to produce the same amount of food on this land without access to the same volumes of irrigation water?

    The rice growing regions of Vietnam and Thailand, which between them produce about half of the worlds export rice, are now suffering serious and worsening salinity issues, which will permanently reduce the agricultural output of these regions. Loss of topsoil, acidification, salinity and other forms of soil degradation are reducing output in many of the worlds non irrigated bread baskets.

    How do you suggest the shortfall be made up Jordan?

    Global agricultural output has hit a peak.

    Even if you (foolishly) dismiss concerns of aquifer depletion and soil degradation, and work on the assumption that global food production will remain stable into the future, surely you can understand that we run into problems if a population continues growing without equally increasing its food production.

    Well not to worry, im sure the market will sort out all these little problems.

  16. jordanrastrick

    Did you even bother to follow the links I provided Jordan?

    Yes. I just figured there was no point getting into a protracted debate about the specifics of groundwater supplies, when our fundamental beliefs about reality on the broader topic here are clearly so divergent that I think 89 comments and 752 links later we would both be merely more convinced the other person is utterly deluded.

    Food security is the new black.

    Except for the new bit.

    We are already feeling the effects of overpopulation. Perhaps not in the first world, but food riots and shortages have become increasingly common over the past few years in developing nations.

    Yes, the past few years have been admittedly awful for food prices. I understand staples are nearly back to costing what they did in 1980..

    Groundwater depletion has had little to do with it, so far. You could have done better trotting out the actual causes, since there are medium term sustainability issues with all of them: oil prices, increased demand for meat in China, diversion of certain crops into biofuels, severe weather events in several major food exporting nations such as Australia.

    Do you have a suggestion as to how we can continue to produce the same amount of food on this land without access to the same volumes of irrigation water?

    Lots. Pricing water as a valuable resource, instead of giving it away for free or close to it, would be an excellent start. Or you could take the non-market mechanism and regulate against the incredibly water inefficient irrigation practices that still prevail in much of the world, with probably almost as good or perhaps better effect, depending on the region.

    surely you can understand that we run into problems if a population continues growing without equally increasing its food production.

    I expect global food production to grow over the medium term – certainly until when we’re currently expecting to peak global population.

    Well not to worry, im sure the market will sort out all these little problems.

    Markets will obviously play some role, although some of the threats to a sustainable global economy definitely require a great deal of government action as well.

    But never mind that.

    Fortunately, concrete predictions about the future are falsifiable. So we could have this tedious argument, or we could make a bet 🙂

    I propose that, in 20 years time – on January 18th, 2031 –

    a) World population will be higher
    AND
    b) Mean global life expectancy will be higher

    than today, as most recenttly reported by some major international organisation that periodically releases scientific estimates of these figures – the UN, WHO, World Bank, etc.

    I further put it to you that if you seriously believe we are right now in the midst of an overpopulation crisis, you must surely think that propositions a) and b) can’t both be correct.

    If you’re at all a gambling person, Duncan – or anyone else reading this post and disagreeing with me – I’d be very interested in discussing actual stakes – possibly of the longbets variety.

  17. “We are already feeling the effects of overpopulation. Perhaps not in the first world, but food riots and shortages have become increasingly common over the past few years in developing nations.”

    Admitedly i haven’t read the whole thread or all of Duncan’s post but distribution of food (and wealth) is the problem, not a shortage of food. Poor people grow stuff like coffee for rich people. They could be growing food.

    “My wife and I are thinking about using IVF … without medicare tho it won’t happen.”

    Best of luck to you Jules.. Hope it works out. My wife and I did IVF, fortunately it was me sticking needles in her 🙂

    FTR I’m all for subsidised IVF and dispute that Australia is overpopulated.

  18. Splatterbottom

    “Global agricultural output has hit a peak.”

    Oh no! This is going to be a doozy – bigger than peak whale oil crisis of the 1850’s I’d warrant.

    “distribution of food (and wealth) is the problem, not a shortage of food. Poor people grow stuff like coffee for rich people. They could be growing food”

    Agricultural subsidies are a large part of the problem. Rich nations are keeping poor nations out of this market by making it uneconomic for them to produce food. Funny how free trade is expendable to those most vigorously promoting it for their own goods and services.

    If you want to sort out distribution of wealth, get the market working more efficiently – that has more consistently reduced poverty than socialist wankery ever has. You only have to look at the change in China from socialism towards a market economy with hundreds of millions lifted out of poverty in the process.

    Leftists seem to have a million ideas for spending and redistributing the wealth created by others but not a clue about how to generate wealth themselves. These prowling jackals stalk the world enviously scenting out any successful enterprise, drooling to make their kill. When the ravaging is done there is nothing left but a bloody mess as they slaughter both the wealth and the capacity to produce more of it.

  19. Heh, SB, I’m in agreement that subsidies are a big part of the problem but I don’t see that the free market is the solution, people in poor countries grow coffee because of the markets demands, think about the big players in that market, the corporations that ultimately produce the coffee..

    Waste is another problem, subsidies cause massive amounts of waste, fucking wine lakes for goodness sake. Sugar mountains. We could give the wasted food away but we wont because we’re selfish pricks and the people who need it are not a security threat (ie we’ll feed Russia and China but Africa can go fuck themselves)

    As for the rest of your post I can’t be bothered, you’re just saying the same thing over and over “the left , THE LEFT THE SKY IS FALLING”!

  20. And on the topic at hand what”s your stance on restricting IVF SB?

    😉 Only joking, it’s a rhetorical question SB considering you, being a Catholic are opposed to IVF period.

    “2. The dignity of human life in its transmission (procreation.) Human life should only be generated in and through acts of sexual intercourse between a husband and wife.
    The human person must be accepted in his parents’ act of union and love; the generation of a child must therefore be the fruit of that mutual self giving which is realized in the conjugal act wherein the spouses cooperate as servants and not as masters in the work of the Creator who is Love. (Donum Vitae II,B, 4, 7”

    Does wanking into a plastic specimen jar count as sexual intercourse??? 😉

  21. Splatterbottom

    RobJ, maybe they grow coffee because rich nations don’t subsidise local farmers to grow it?

    Looks like you have the IVF issue in hand!

  22. “Looks like you have the IVF issue in hand!”

    LOL – You have a good sense of humour, I’ll grant you that…

    Seriously that’s what I remember most about it, being led to a room stacked with porno mags and videos by an attractive nurse, that and sticking needles in my wife’s buttock. We were using our own sperm and eggs, that would be against the catholic doctrine but I can’t see what’s wrong with it. … anyway, enough sorry for going off topic.

  23. Splatterbottom

    RobJ: “that would be against the catholic doctrine but I can’t see what’s wrong with it”

    I’m not diving into this issue. Luckily we live in a society that allows people to make their own choices on issues like this. If we were faced with the choice, I don’t know exactly what we’d do, but it might be along the lines of “if this what God had in mind for us, then he probably expects us to contribute otherwise than by having a family.” As it is, the Church’s guidance on contraception has ensured we have plenty to do raising our own tribe.

  24. “Oh no! This is going to be a doozy – bigger than peak whale oil crisis of the 1850′s I’d warrant.”

    Pretty lame SB.

    I know its hard for you to understand, but listen carefully.

    We live on a finite world.

    Infinite growth is not possible with a finite source of energy.

    If population continues increasing, we will not have enough food and fresh water to go round.

    Get it so far?

    Now follow me here if you can SB….40% of the worlds food is grown on irrigated farmland, and the ground water used to irrigate that farmland recharges at a set rate.

    If the water is extracted at a rate which is higher than the rate of recharge, then the water use is unsustainable and, over time, the aquifer becomes depleted.

    When this happens the area is no longer able to produce the same quantity of food, and the global food supply is reduced. Not to mention the entire regions economy being devastated.

    If an area (as in my previous example) like Vietnam or Thailand, who produce approx 50% of the worlds export rice, lose too much farmland to salinity then they will be unable to continue producing the same quantity of food, and the global food supply is reduced.

    Peak agricultural production is nothing like peak whale oil. We have a finite amount of land to use, and ground water supplies which can only be drawn on at a set rate.

    Unlike whale oil, no alternative exists to replace productive farmland or clean water in the quantities required for irrigated agriculture.

  25. You only have to look at the change in China from socialism towards a market economy with hundreds of millions lifted out of poverty in the process.

    Actually, it’s far more accurate to say that it’s communism that has been significantly watered down in China SB – they still retain many socialist policies (as do almost all countries worldwide, including Australia). In fact socialist policy in many areas of government is mandatory for the success of any modern day economy.

    Is conflating communism and socialism going to become your new meme?

  26. “Lots. Pricing water as a valuable resource, instead of giving it away for free or close to it, would be an excellent start.”

    Yeah Jordan, but where will this water come from? I agree farmers should pay more for our water, but putting a higher price on it doesn’t magic it into existence.

    If the groundwater of a region is depleted, then its depleted. Jesus doesn’t put the water back in the ground just because you can afford to buy it.

  27. Splatterbottom

    What’s the difference, Mondo? When the Socialist Party of Australia split from the Communist Party of Australia it was even more hard-line. These two words don’t have well defined meanings, and in many cases they can be used interchangeably.

    As to China, it has benefited its people by becoming more market oriented, not by becoming more socialist. You have to earn it before you can spend it.

  28. Splatterbottom

    Duncan, your argument depends on you knowing all relevant facts. You don’t. No one does. Now stop with your Chicken Little routine. Humans are very ingenious. They could fix the population problem with a decent war. If they don’t nature can solve the problem. Either of these two outcomes is preferable to having the power elite decide for us who is to live or die or reproduce. The worst people on the planet are those who think they know the answers and want take control for our own good.

    Who is to know whether humanity will flourish or decline? Certainly not you.

  29. “They could fix the population problem with a decent war. If they don’t nature can solve the problem.”

    So we shouldn’t worry about over population, because war and disease will solve the population problem for us?

    Nice.

    “Duncan, your argument depends on you knowing all relevant facts. You don’t.”

    What part of my argument in particular do you have a problem with SB?

    “Now stop with your Chicken Little routine.”

    Since when is paying attention to your stocking rate a “chicken little routine” ?

  30. “Only joking, it’s a rhetorical question SB considering you, being a Catholic are opposed to IVF period. ”

    RJ I dunno if thats true. I did have an answer to your question re mum on another thread, bit its in moderation. (Dunno why, probably forgotten.) I know for a fact she isn’t 100% opposed to IVF tho, cos if I decided to use it she would support me 100%. I’m not a Catholic tho.

    When we get within cooee of equitable distribution of resources then we might be able to judge what the planets actual carrying capacity is.

    It might be worth considering that the problem isn’t population per se, just the greed and selfishness of rich fuckers.

  31. jordanrastrick

    … anyway, enough sorry for going off topic.

    I don’t know Rob – I think your actual discussion of actual IVF was pretty on topic. Probably more so than the diversionry discussion of population growth in general, that I, uh, thought would be more fun to have an argument about. And certainly more so than what I’m sure will now be a nonetheless entertaining semantic jelly-wrestling match beween Mondo and SB about how to define “socialism” and “communism”… maybe they could cover “capitalism” while they’re at it?

    🙂

    Yeah Jordan, but where will this water come from?

    The short answer is that the water will come from the sky (as if by magic!!) because if it is priced correctly we won’t need to consume groundwater beyond its replenishment rate.

    Long answer:

    Well, lets assume for the sake of argument that the satellite based gravity-measuring estimates of groundwater loss in India are fully accurate.

    By my calculations, the water consumption involved corresponds approximately to that of India’s cotton crop.

    Now, I reckon if you put a reasonable price on water, India (and pretty much everywhere else) would stop growing devastatingly thirsty cash crops like Cotton in areas under water stress. Your shirts might end up a little less comfy and/or cheap, but there’d be pleny of *sustainable* irrigation to cover the food needs of 10 billion people – even without any adjustment of diet way from say meat towards vegetables that you’d be likely to see as a result of the relative shift in prices between foodstuffs that would occur.

    But that’s crazy evil neo-liberal market “economics” stuff, that pretends to unscientifcally synthesize matter which doesn’t exist. Or something. So I’m sure you’d just rather legally prohbit the production of cotton, or action along those lines. As it happens, that’d work, too.

    Or you could you know, legally mandate the introduction of more efficient irrigation techniques, given the huge disparities between current technological best practices for water conservation, and what actually exists on most real farms.

    Etc etc etc.

    ANYWAY like I said I expect this debate to get tedious rather quickly.

    Will you take my bet, or something similar? Do you think its unreasonable in any way? If so, why?

    If the Earth is currently overpopulated, surely my prediction is wrong – or if my prediction is compatible with an overpopulated planet, perhaps you’d care to explain why.

    When we get within cooee of equitable distribution of resources then we might be able to judge what the planets actual carrying capacity is.

    Sadly, that’s not likely to happen for a long time (if ever). Still, say a hypothetical non-corrupt efficient Communist world government run by Angels/Super AI/etc were to take full control tomorrow of the extractive sectors of the global economy – Energy, Mining and Agriculture – and allocated the resources equitably, focusing on sustainability and human survival first and all other goals a very distant second. We’d find we could support well more than 6 billion people for at least hundreds of years, with zero further technological innovation beyond where we are now, although certainly not at current Western lifestyles.

  32. jordan, I agree, but I wonder what you mean by “current western lifestyles”.

    Then again I was reminded the other day that I grew up listening to and loving the music of cold chisel. Seems to me that most of those were singing about escaping the “typical western lifestyle”. Bow river, cheap wine, the star hotel, standing on the outside.

    They, and so many other songs by other bands, are about escaping the “typical western lifestyle.” About being non productive non economic non units.

    There have probably been enough tellys and computers in Australia and the US over the last 10 years that have been chucked out but are still useful that we don’t need to make any more for a while. Man I live so well with so little, I know that s just internet bullshit, but even this computer I’m using is 3rd or 4th hand.

    They talk about this bubble and that bubble and forget the whole bloody thing is a bubble. (Consumer based economies.) lets see what happens to the worlds population when the oil bubble goes pop and the “green revolution” is exposed as the shocking mistake (no matter how well intentioned, and in some ways successful) it was.

    On its own thats gonna have nothing to do with the actual carrying capacity of Earth and everything to do with dumb short sighted human behaviour. I haven’t got an answer to this btw, cept maybe start learning permaculture and if you live in a city plant fruit trees and vegies on the nature strips (now might be a good time to start cos fruit and veg are gonna be expensive come this next few months. And grains.

    The distribution problem is something full on.

    It may be a law of nature cos apparantly control of resources across all human societies, even communist ones seem to follow a pretty similar power law distribution. Thats a scary thought and at some point Bolt and co are gonna start bringing it up.

    Anyway I’ve drifted a bit too far off topic.

    OH the green revolution I’m referring to was the move to mass monoculture across the world in an attempt to stop famine. Not the environmental movement.

  33. “RJ I dunno if thats true. ”

    It is true Jules:

    http://www.catholicenquiry.com/life-and-death/what-is-the-churchs-position-on-ivf.html

    http://www.lifemarriagefamily.org.au/resource/Catholics%20and%20reproductive%20technology.pdf

    I know for a fact she isn’t 100% opposed to IVF tho, cos if I decided to use it she would support me 100%. “

    Then she’s at odds with her religion, not that I think that that is a bad thing after all I think the Catholic Church are just plain wrong on certain issues. For example on the one hand the Catholic Church opposes IVF because “Because of the inestimable value of the human person” on the other hand they oppose condom use which protects people from AIDS.

  34. There are lots of catholics at odds with their “religion” – well no with the institution that tries to run it.

    Her attitude, and that of most catholics I have met, is that they’ll follow their consciences first.

    Then again my old girl used to get books on condoms (little cartoon type propaganda ones) and make them available to the students at the Catholic Boys School where she taught. She’d say to them stuff like you really are better off waiting till marriage, but that ain’t gonna happen so practice safe sex.

    I had a cousin in the 80s, a priest, of Irish Australian descent, he was a “liberation theologist” he worked with poor villages in El Salvador while the death squads were running amok.

    While he and many other priests were doing this the Hierarchy in El Salvador was supporting the people who organised, funded and directed the death squads.

    That was in the 80s tho, and things were different. While even then The CC as an institution was nasty and repressive, and its only got worse since.

  35. I told her about the AFL (Jezza’z one) for example and she said it sounded like a good thing. I think she is sick of people with a barrow to push speaking for her.

  36. “Her attitude, and that of most catholics I have met, is that they’ll follow their consciences first.

    Which makes me wonder why they identify as Catholics in the first place after all if they disagree with the doctrine then they are Catholics in name only…. I’m sure the Catholic Church was even more draconian when your mother was a child.

    The CC as an institution was nasty and repressive, and its only got worse since.

    I’d contend that the CC has got better.

  37. Well RobJ … I probably know more about this than I want to.

    There was a thing called Vatican 2 in the 60s which attempted to bring the church into the late 19th century or something. In the 80s it was still only 20 years earlier. It wasn’t long after the (probable) murder of John Paul 1st for planning to investigate money laundering through the Vatican bank.

    Thats why in the 80s the church was “better” than it is now. the vatican was losing some authority.

    There were interfaith movements and the like, the power of dogma, which the church had always depended on was being undermined.

    The Church had good relations with Solidarity in Poland and we all knew about Liberation Theology. They kept quiet about the South American hierarchy and their attempts to destroy LT. But then there has always a curious strain in the Australian CC.

    For every Santamaria there was a Mannix, and while I certainly don’t agree with everything that clown said, for a Melbourne religious leader at the time (ww1) he is worth respecting. Actually I think Mannix secretly supported Santamaria but he was old and senile by then.

    Don’t get me wrong, Mannix was a member of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church.

    It didn’t matter how decent a human he was because when he spoke he spoke for power. The fact that he spoke for a less brutal and vicious power than most in Australia at the time was probably significant tho. People bring their personal qualities to an institution but they rarely have the ability to change it. Barak Obama comes to mind.

    Criticise the Catholic Church, sure, cos they deserve it.

    But remember Mannix was opposed to WW1 for the same reasons one of my all time favorite political thinkers – Randolph Bourne was opposed to it.

    Mannix called it a “sordid trade war”. I guess thats all I’m getting at RobJ.

    BTW If you have never heard of Bourne check him out.

    he wrote the seminal essay “War is the Health of the State.”

  38. Sorry thats just miles OT.

  39. “Sorry thats just miles OT.”

    I say thanks, I’m happy to be set straight by those who know more about it.

  40. Splatterbottom

    Being catholic is about choosing the way of understanding the world and living my life in the way that makes most sense. An even more basic proposition is that people should be free to make their own choice about those things. The role of parents is to put their children in a position to make wise choices about how to live their lives, not to dictate a particular choice.

    Catholicism best explains human nature (original sin and redemption) and offers the most sensible way of living (do unto others). If you agree with the big issues, if following the teachings of the church improves your life, the fact that you have a different view on some complex but less important issue doesn’t mean that you give the game away. It is better to keep thinking about the issue honestly, trying to understand the church’s view and making coming to a view based on your conscience and your understanding.

    The role of a parent is to love and support their children, irrespective of their view of the world, and whether or not they do things which the parent disagrees with. That doesn’t mean that a parent wouldn’t express their opinion, particularly before a decision is made, and it doesn’t mean that a parent endorse, say, psychopathic behaviour. But there are enough people in the world to criticise your children and tear them down. If parents don’t respect the decisions of their children they don’t respect them as human beings.

    Virtue is only virtue if it is freely chosen. Any attempt by a parent to deprive their children of that freedom to choose is denigrating the child, denying the very thing that makes them human, their ability to exercise their free will.

    My experience is that the children are who they are, and parents have very limited capacity to change that. The biggest mistake and a major cause of grief in the family is when parents don’t accept who their children are and try to change them. The most parents can hope for is to help them understand themselves and offer suggestions about how to deal with their emotions impulses and habits.

  41. Splatterbottom

    Jules, it was no secret that Mannix was a big supporter of Santamaria, gave him permission to set up his organisation and worked with him:

    “Mannix’s best-known protégé in his later years was B.A. Santamaria, a young Italian-Australian lawyer, whom Mannix appointed head of the National Secretariat of Catholic Action in 1937. After 1941, Mannix authorised Santamaria to form the Catholic Social Studies Movement, known simply as The Movement, to organise in the unions and defeat the Communists. The Movement was so successful in its efforts that by 1949 it had taken control of the Victorian branch of the Labor Party. Another associate was the Jesuit priest William Hackett from Ireland, who had been involved in the Irish Republic’s struggle for independence from Britain before being posted to Australia.”

    “In Victoria, Mannix strongly supported Santamaria, but in New South Wales, Norman Thomas Gilroy opposed him, favouring the traditional alliance between the Church and Labor. Gilroy’s influence in Rome ended official Church support for the Movement as well as, reportedly, Mannix’s chances to be elevated to the Cardinalate.”

  42. “An even more basic proposition is that people should be free to make their own choice about those things.”

    Then why would you identify as a Catholic? Sure you have free will, we all do but your church expects you to confess your sins to a mortal priest that may influence your choices (for better or worse)

    “The role of parents is to put their children in a position to make wise choices about how to live their lives, not to dictate a particular choice.”

    I agree but I reckon your priest wouldn’t, say you made the wise recommendation that your kids should practise safe sex then you’d be at odds with your brand of religion.

    “If parents don’t respect the decisions of their children they don’t respect them as human beings.”

    But your church would excommunicate your kids for certain decisions they made that you may have respected, again putting you at odds with your religion.

    “Any attempt by a parent to deprive their children of that freedom to choose is denigrating the child, denying the very thing that makes them human, their ability to exercise their free will.”

    So you wouldn’t share your own religious views, because they’re rather specific, in some cases you’d be telling them that they are condemned to an eternity of damnation, I’d contend that that would be depriving them of their own freedom of religion (if they believed you)

    “The biggest mistake and a major cause of grief in the family is when parents don’t accept who their children are and try to change them. The most parents can hope for is to help them understand themselves and offer suggestions about how to deal with their emotions impulses and habits.”

    Agreed, goodonya.

  43. Splatterbottom

    Talking to anyone may influence your choices RobJ. Talking to lefties probably influences my choices. I spend a lot more time here than in the confessional.

  44. SB thanks for that. Honestly, while I don’t agree with you wrt this:

    “Catholicism best explains human nature”

    I can see that there is enough in the “belief system” that people live can good lives if they choose to. Honestly compared to the real fundies I think catholicism is ok. Just seemed irrelevant to me.

    One of my favorite thinkers, and american clown (in a good way) called Robert Anton Wilson, mentioned that he was raised as a Catholic and that although he doesn’t believe the dogma he thinks the schooling and cultural background he had was one that encouraged him to think for himself, take responsibility for his own decisions and look at the world as having something outside himself “greater” than him. Even if that was just the world itself on its own terms.

    He’s not a Catholic anymore either.

    What I’ve noticed is there tend to be a trend of ex Catholics who share similar worldvews to RAW and me, and most of them are pretty decent people whose views I agree with.

    I know how self referential that is, but aside from that the Catholic system can’t be that bad if it gave these people the critical thinking skills to walk and take what they thought was best about the belief system with them.

    I don’t think it “best” explains human nature, but some of the tools it provides for living well, ie the concept of “do unto others” and the idea of redemption (ie you will fuck up and you need to genuinely make amends internally before you can that externally) are excellent and I’m glad I was exposed to them.

    By the same token some guys I went to school with are priests. The nicest (Most thoughtful and compassionate at school) died recently – under 40. He was a priest at the vatican.

    Wopuld have loved to have a talk to him but I dunno how indoctrinated he became…

    The other guys have a nasty tendency to be a little too dogmatic, so they obviously came away from the exact same education I had with a totally different perspective.

  45. jordanrastrick | 18 January, 2011 at 1:20 pm |

    “I propose that, in 20 years time – on January 18th, 2031 –

    a) World population will be higher
    AND
    b) Mean global life expectancy will be higher”

    No worries. How much can you afford to lose? 🙂

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