Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Sterilizing for a Greener Planet

Jay Anderson links to an article from the UK Daily Mail about women (and their boyfriends/husbands) who get sterilized because their environmental convictions lead them to the belief that adding more people to the world's population would be selfish and destructive.
Finally, eight years ago, Toni got her way.

At the age of 27 this young woman at the height of her reproductive years was sterilised to "protect the planet".

Incredibly, instead of mourning the loss of a family that never was, her boyfriend (now husband) presented her with a congratulations card.

While some might think it strange to celebrate the reversal of nature and denial of motherhood, Toni relishes her decision with an almost religious zeal.

"Having children is selfish. It's all about maintaining your genetic line at the expense of the planet," says Toni, 35.

"Every person who is born uses more food, more water, more land, more fossil fuels, more trees and produces more rubbish, more pollution, more greenhouse gases, and adds to the problem of over-population."

While most parents view their children as the ultimate miracle of nature, Toni seems to see them as a sinister threat to the future.
I've run into milder forms this myself, from "replacement only" people who consider having more than two children to be a crime against future humanity. I suppose this is only taking things one step farther.

The ironic thing in all this is that in elevating the world's ecosystem to something so sacred that it must feel no impact from humans, such extreme environmentalists turn humans into an exception from the rules that govern other species. Most species, if provided with vast unused resources, will reproduce in order to exploit them as rapidly as possible. If later the species population runs out of resources, famine reduces the population back down to sustainable levels.
Humans, having the intellectual capacity for forsight and not liking the idea of maxing out resources and experiencing a major dying-off, wisely wish to avoid consuming resources in this sort of unthinking fashion. We seek both to avoid a situation in which resources suddenly run out, and to avoid turning the regions we inhabit into unpleasant places.

And yet, this idea that we should actively seek to erase our impact on the world by erasing (or vastly reducing) ourselves as a species seems to deny the physical part of our nature. As well as being thinking creatures, we are also a species, and for what do species exist other than to be fruitful and multiply?


jawats said...

Taken alone, this philosophy could be used to justify almost any taking of human life. I wonder what it's adherants feel that its limitations in that direction are...

jnewl said...

They don't seem bright enough to know there aren't any.

They're a curious bunch. They reject revealed truth ("Be fruitful and multiply") as well as contemporary science (evolutionary theory), which would seem to leave them in the realm of pantheism. However, I've never heard of a pantheism that considers its adherent an invading alien force in the All.

If everything in nature is divine, then that surely encompasses the pantheist believer. But these folks clearly think themselves inferior to Nature, which would put them outside of it. So what do they think accounts for their existence then? It's a curious and ultimately incoherent position.

Darwin said...

I think it might be a case of seeing a relationship between the dis-embodied "I" and the "natural world" which is somehow separate from the rest of the human race as a species. Thus, the human race is polluting and over-running the world that "I" like to watch. Surely "I" would not want to give existence to one of "them".

jnewl said...

You make a good point. I think what the earth-worshippers mostly dislike is the existence of intellect. They conceive of nature as properly taking place without direction or interference, so creatures possessed of intelligence are seen as interfering with the proper order of things.

The difficulty here is that the reproductive act is natural to all creatures; i.e. it is not a creation or byproduct of our intellects. On the contrary, it is the act that this girl did to herself which is the product of intellect, however misguided...which just goes to show again how incoherent and self-contradictory these peoples' doctrine is.

Donald R. McClarey said...

These eco-Shakers wouldn't be the first ecologists to have a strong preference for nature as opposed to humanity.

LogEyed Roman said...

One ironic thing is that if these people were really in favor of natural processes, they would support human population growth and economic activity precisely for the purpose of doing as much short-term damage to the ecosystem as possible, so that the next ecosystem could evolve. This has happened so many times in prehistory; just one example is the appearance of dogs and cats, which swept huge populations of species out of existence which could not cope or compete, but which then made room for all the current capable prey animals etc.

So what if it meant the planet being turned into a wasteland for thousands of years, and millions of years more for all the new species to evolve? That's nature's way all over.

In fact it would be a horrible disaster, especially in human terms, and would wipe the current "natural world" they worship out of existence to make for the new one. But this just shows how irrational and UNSCIENTIFIC these characters really are.

LogEyed Roman

Kiwi Nomad 2006 said...

With their status as a no-kids couple, chances are they are huge 'consumers' as a twosome, that they never could have afforded as a family.

Joseph said...

If utter fools are refusing to have children ... could that explain the Flynn effect?

IlĂ­on said...

"The future belongs to those who show up." -- Mark Steyn (to the best of my knowledge)