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Uthman
11-07-2009, 08:18 PM
Europe is facing a population crisis because of attacks on religion by secular writers, Britain's chief rabbi has said.

Lord Sacks blamed Europe's falling birth rate on a culture of "consumerism and instant gratification".

He said the continent was "dying" and accused its citizens of not being prepared for parenthood's "sacrifices".

He made his comments in a lecture for Christian think tank Theos in central London on Wednesday.

The 61-year-old, who took his seat in the Lords last week, said: "Wherever you turn today - Jewish, Christian or Muslim - the more religious the community, the larger on average are their families.

"The major assault on religion today comes from the neo-Darwinians."

'Massive sacrifices'


One of the leading "neo-Darwinians" is Richard Dawkins, whose bestseller The God Delusion argues the rise of religious fundamentalism has divided people around the world.

Lord Sacks said Europe was the most secular region in the world and the only continent seeing populations fall.

He said parenthood involved "massive sacrifices" of money, attention, time and emotional energy.

We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no-one is talking about it
Lord Sacks

Lord Sacks asked: "In [modern Europe]... where will you find space for the concept of sacrifice for the sake of generations not born?"

He continued: "Europe is dying, exactly as Polybius said about ancient Greece in the third pre-Christian century.

"We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no-one is talking about it."

The chief rabbi was knighted in 2005 for services to the community and interfaith relations.

He has been chief rabbi of the United Hebrew Congregations of the Commonweath for 18 years.

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Fishman
11-07-2009, 08:21 PM
We are undergoing the moral equivalent of climate change and no-one is talking about it
:sl:
That's actually quite clever there. I've never heard that comparisson before.
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GuestFellow
11-07-2009, 08:25 PM
Standards are falling too. I feel (especially teenagers) have become so rude towards teachers and their own parents.
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Uthman
11-07-2009, 09:19 PM
Despite this: http://www.islamicboard.com/world-af...t-society.html
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Trumble
11-07-2009, 09:23 PM
Originally Posted by Uthmān
Lord Sacks said Europe was the most secular region in the world and the only continent seeing populations fall.
It's also the region of the world with the fastest broadband speeds, and best football teams. I wonder if either of those are responsible for the falling birth-rate? Or whether Dawkins is solely responsible himself? .. what rubbish.

Anyway, even this were true it would a definite plus for secularism IMHO. The population of the planet is increasing exponentially, and unless people stop burying their heads in the sand and hoping the problem goes away the inevitable consequences will be mass starvation and brutal wars for limited resources. A falling birth rate is an excellent thing; hopefully it will spread from Europe to everywhere else.
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OurIslamic
11-07-2009, 09:26 PM
Interesting and informative post.
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Uthman
11-07-2009, 09:34 PM
Originally Posted by Trumble
It's also the region of the world with the fastest broadband speeds, and best football teams. I wonder if either of those are responsible for the falling birth-rate?
That is a good point, I have to say. It occurred to me while reading the article that it wasn't a great argument for him to use.
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KAding
11-07-2009, 10:39 PM
Well, what is needed is a replacement rate, nothing more. Birth rates in European countries have already been rising in the last decade or so actually, so we are getting closer again to the replacement rate.

But high birth rates are very bad. The Economist actually ran an interesting story about the dropping birth rates world wide and the positive effects this is having:
Falling fertility
Oct 29th 2009
From The Economist print edition


Astonishing falls in the fertility rate are bringing with them big benefits



THOMAS MALTHUS first published his “Essay on the Principle of Population”, in which he forecast that population growth would outstrip the world’s food supply, in 1798. His timing was unfortunate, for something started happening around then which made nonsense of his ideas. As industrialisation swept through what is now the developed world, fertility fell sharply, first in France, then in Britain, then throughout Europe and America. When people got richer, families got smaller; and as families got smaller, people got richer.

Now, something similar is happening in developing countries. Fertility is falling and families are shrinking in places— such as Brazil, Indonesia, and even parts of India—that people think of as teeming with children. As our briefing shows, the fertility rate of half the world is now 2.1 or less—the magic number that is consistent with a stable population and is usually called “the replacement rate of fertility”. Sometime between 2020 and 2050 the world’s fertility rate will fall below the global replacement rate.

At a time when Malthusian worries are resurgent and people fear the consequences for an overcrowded planet, the decline in fertility is surprising and somewhat reassuring. It means that worries about a population explosion are themselves being exploded—and it carries a lesson about how to solve the problems of climate change.
Worth a bundle

Today’s fall in fertility is both very large and very fast. Poor countries are racing through the same demographic transition as rich ones, starting at an earlier stage of development and moving more quickly. The transition from a rate of five to that of two, which took 130 years to happen in Britain—from 1800 to 1930—took just 20 years—from 1965 to 1985—in South Korea. Mothers in developing countries today can expect to have three children. Their mothers had six. In some countries the speed of decline in the fertility rate has been astonishing. In Iran, it dropped from seven in 1984 to 1.9 in 2006—and to just 1.5 in Tehran. That is about as fast as social change can happen.

Falling fertility in poor and middle-income societies is a boon in and of itself. It means that, for the first time, the majority of mothers are having the number of children they want, which seems to be—as best one can judge—two. (China is an exception: its fall in fertility has been coerced.)

It is also a boon in what it represents, which is greater security for billions of vulnerable people. Subsistence farmers, who live off their harvest and risk falling victim to rapine or drought, can depend only on themselves and their children. For them, a family of eight may be the only insurance against disaster. But for the new middle classes of China, India or Brazil, with factory jobs, cars and bank accounts, the problems of extreme insecurity lie in the past. For them, a child may be a joy, a liability or an accident—but not an insurance policy.

And falling fertility is a boon for what it makes possible, which is economic growth. Demography used to be thought of as neutral for growth. But that was because, until the 1990s, there were few developing countries with records of declining fertility and rising incomes. Now there are dozens and they show that as countries move from large families and poverty into wealth and ageing they pass through a Goldilocks period: a generation or two in which fertility is neither too high nor too low and in which there are few dependent children, few dependent grandparents—and a bulge of adults in the middle who, if conditions are right, make the factories hum. For countries in demographic transition, the fall to replacement fertility is a unique and precious opportunity.
Another inconvenient truth

Nonsense, say Malthus’s heirs. All this misses the point: there are too many people for the Earth’s fragile ecosystems. It is time to stop—and ideally reverse—the population increase. To celebrate falling fertility is like congratulating the captain of the Titanic on heading towards the iceberg more slowly.

The Malthusians are right that the world’s population is still increasing and can do a lot more environmental damage before it peaks at just over 9 billion in 2050. That will certainly be the case if poor, fast-growing countries follow the economic trajectories of those in the rich world. The poorest Africans and Asians produce 0.1 tonnes of CO2 each a year, compared with 20 tonnes for each American. Growth is helping hundreds of millions to escape grinding poverty. But if the poor copy the pattern of wealth creation that made Europe and America rich, they will eat up as many resources as the Americans do, with grim consequences for the planet. What’s more, the parts of the world where populations are growing fastest are also those most vulnerable to climate change, and a rising population will exacerbate the consequences of global warming—water shortages, mass migration, declining food yields.

In principle, there are three ways of limiting human environmental impacts: through population policy, technology and governance. The first of those does not offer much scope. Population growth is already slowing almost as fast as it naturally could. Easier access to family planning, especially in Africa, could probably lower its expected peak from around 9 billion to perhaps 8.5 billion. Only Chinese-style coercion would bring it down much below that; and forcing poor people to have fewer children than they want because the rich consume too many of the world’s resources would be immoral.

If population policy can do little more to alleviate environmental damage, then the human race will have to rely on technology and governance to shift the world’s economy towards cleaner growth. Mankind needs to develop more and cheaper technologies that can enable people to enjoy the fruits of economic growth without destroying the planet’s natural capital. That’s not going to happen unless governments both use carbon pricing and other policies to encourage investment in those technologies and constrain the damage that economic development does to biodiversity.

Falling fertility may be making poor people’s lives better, but it cannot save the Earth. That lies in our own hands.
http://www.economist.com/opinion/dis...ry_id=14744915
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Uthman
11-08-2009, 07:08 AM
Thanks kAding. I have the past three editions of The Economist lying around at home. I haven't gotten around to reading any of them yet. :embarrass
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tetsujin
11-08-2009, 07:11 AM
Originally Posted by KAding
Well, what is needed is a replacement rate, nothing more. Birth rates in European countries have already been rising in the last decade or so actually, so we are getting closer again to the replacement rate.

But high birth rates are very bad. The Economist actually ran an interesting story about the dropping birth rates world wide and the positive effects this is having:
*about to post article from the economist*

Darn, if only I saw this thread 9 hours ago. :embarrass
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Alim Apprentice
11-08-2009, 01:43 PM
Originally Posted by Trumble
Anyway, even this were true it would a definite plus for secularism IMHO. The population of the planet is increasing exponentially, and unless people stop burying their heads in the sand and hoping the problem goes away the inevitable consequences will be mass starvation and brutal wars for limited resources. A falling birth rate is an excellent thing; hopefully it will spread from Europe to everywhere else.
Resources are still relatively abundant, its just that it is obviously not allocated efficiently throughout the world. Its not even productively allocated. Large swaths of lands are being gorged just to satisfy a small percentage of population of the world. That's why we see such a disparity between the rich and poor.

Earth can sustain itself if the humans living it can learn the importance of sustainability and fair resource allocation. Hoping a falling birth rate will solve things doesn't look too dissimilar to burying ones head in the sand ;)
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Trumble
11-08-2009, 11:20 PM
Originally Posted by Alim Apprentice
Earth can sustain itself if the humans living it can learn the importance of sustainability and fair resource allocation.
It can sustain more people than it currently does, but there is obviously a limit somewhere. Quite apart from which, do you see any signs that those lessons are being learned?

Hoping a falling birth rate will solve things doesn't look too dissimilar to burying ones head in the sand ;)
Ultimately a sufficiently falling birth rate will solve the problem. I hope such a fall occurs naturally and consentually, as if it does not rather more unpleasant alternatives will eventually have to be faced.
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Qingu
11-09-2009, 01:49 AM
I don't understand the sentiment that a falling birth rate is a bad thing.

Are you guys saying that humanity should multiply itself like a bacteria colony? Earth can only support so many people. And I doubt the poor populations with the highest birth rates are the ones who are going to be moving to other planets.
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Ramadhan
11-09-2009, 03:10 AM
Originally Posted by Qingu
I don't understand the sentiment that a falling birth rate is a bad thing.
A falling birthrate in itself is not a bad thing, but a falling birthrate to the point where it falls way below replaceable population rate is a bad thing.
A good solution for europe and other developed countries with very low birth rate (like Japan) would be to relax immigration and labor policies.
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جوري
11-09-2009, 03:29 AM
Originally Posted by naidamar
A falling birthrate in itself is not a bad thing, but a falling birthrate to the point where it falls way below replaceable population rate is a bad thing.
A good solution for europe and other developed countries with very low birth rate (like Japan) would be to relax immigration and labor policies.
:sl:

I think it is a great thing that the 'progressive' are all pro abortions/homosexuality and 'eunuch(tion).. the perk is, you get to enjoy the opera for certain a castarato is far more pleasing than a contralto from one who enjoys keeping his member!..
we all know that poor people are more concerned to butter their bread and not cultivated enough like the refined few who forgo motherhood, kinship, a family unit for a life of sterility and hedonism!



:wa:
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Alim Apprentice
11-09-2009, 07:54 AM
Originally Posted by Trumble
It can sustain more people than it currently does, but there is obviously a limit somewhere. Quite apart from which, do you see any signs that those lessons are being learned?

Ultimately a sufficiently falling birth rate will solve the problem. I hope such a fall occurs naturally and consentually, as if it does not rather more unpleasant alternatives will eventually have to be faced.
Indeed, I agree there is a limit. The prime impetus for sustainability would probably recycling, where processed goods get reused rather than being put to waste. The technology is there, but without political will or incentives for corporations, its only the environmentalists who are making the noise. Another harder approach would be for companies to produce only what the market needs, rather than mass producing and imposing their products on the consumers with heavy marketing.

Yep, we could look at other solutions other than falling birth rates. What about reducing the consumption of humans? Its obvious that in the developed world, consumption per capita has increased. Its also true for the developing world as well as they try to catch up with being a "developed" status via their industries. I believe leaving human consumptions rates as status quo, we'll need to have a very sharp decrease in birth rates to actually make sure we'll have enough resources.

What do you think? We could do both.. though comparing between falling birth rates and reducing human consumption, the latter would have a greater effect.
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sevgi
11-09-2009, 12:54 PM
I don't think Lord Sacks has a point to what he is writing...what exactly does he want? More 'Europeans'? His article as a whole is quite vague and filled with fleeting comments about the relationship between secularism and population, and secularism and climate change, and other odd comparisons.

Personally, I'd like to know what Lord Sacks is getting at. Who does he want to address this issue? Europe? Who is Europe? Is he interested in establishing a religious 'Europe' in order to increase population? If he were Muslim, I'd say he wanted a caliphate (sarcasm). Or does he expect 'Europe' to to provide financial incentives to married and/or unmarried couples to have kids? Because we all know that works well. (Again, sarcasm) The only people in the population who seem to be affected by such incentives are the little kiddies who think a few extra dollars is well worth having kids. And, I think that clashes with Sacks's issue with consumerist 'Europeans'. Having kids for money is exactly what Sacks doesn't want.

Additionally, if he wants this issue to be addressed as Climate change is being addressed, he must be sick. Climate change is not being addressed. It's being complained about...which correlates perfectly with Sacks's approach to 'Europes' dire need for higher population.


Having been knighted for his community and interfaith work, perhaps Lord Sacks could have proposed an influx of the excess non-Eurpoean population into "dying" Europe. There is plenty of room afterall and I know of millions of dying non-Europeans who could do with 'Europe's' security.

Perhaps while complaining about 'Europe', Sacks should provide some advice, some ideas and some grounds for betterment rather than rant away his religious prejudice. Why would this man introduce such a stupid issue, likening it to serious issues like climate change, and not provide any discussion or resolution. No one likes a sook.
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