Monday, March 12. 2012
I have written before that the two movements that I think are very pernicious are radical environmentalism andtranshumanism. Radical environmentalism wants the plague of humanity to be reduced (or disappear all together) so the Earth can be "healthy" again. Transhumanism wants to radically engineer man to be "posthuman" which includes, but is not limited to living forever through enhancements.
These two movements seem diametrically opposed and yet they suffer from the same faulty underpinning: rejection of human nature. We live on this planet too. We are built to reproduce, like all other living things. And we are not naturally immortal.
It is not often that these two movements converge, and yet more and more, there are suggestions that we engineer ourselves to save the planet; a marriage of transhumanist ideas of engineering humanity and environmentalism. I have written before that way back in 1967, MIT engineers suggested that we engineer humans to be smaller to conserve resources.
The idea that we radically engineer our species to "save the planet" is in the news again. The Atlantic has an interview with S. Matthew Liao, a professor of philosophy and bioethics at New York University, who wrote a paper exploring ways humanity can change our nature to combat "climate change." Liao says he is simply discussing the subject and is not an advocate of forcing these options on people.
One way Liao explores is either to select smaller children through IVF and PGD or to engineer our children to be smaller with growth-stunting chemicals or genetic manipulation:
What are the various ways humans could be engineered to be smaller?One avenue that Liao discusses would be right up the transhumanist's alley. Genetically altering people to be able to see in the dark like cats:
Your paper focuses on human engineering techniques that are relatively safe. Did your research lead you to any interesting techniques that were unsafe?At least Liao labels this suggestion unsafe...for now. But unfortunately, Liao seems to buy the transhumanist line that engineering ourselves is "liberating." (I would argue that, instead, embracing our nature is liberating much the same way we tell girls to love themselves the way they are, not the way others would have them be.) In a world where people are forcibly limited to how many children they can have, Liao suggests the engineering the size of our children would give us more choice in the matter:
In your paper you suggest that some human engineering solutions may actually be liberty enhancing. How so?There is so much to discuss about Dr. Liao's exploration that a blog post could hardly do it justice, but I will try.
First, as Wesley J. Smith points out what begins as discussions among academics, becomes policy for the masses. I fear if we embrace engineering ourselves to "combat climate change" then to save the planet these radical ideas could become compulsory.
Second, our attempts at engineering mankind to combat overpopulation in Asia has had devastating societal impact. As Mara Hvistendahl reported in her book Unnatural Selection, the West feared the population increases in Asia and pushed an agenda of contraception, sterilization and abortion, some of it non-voluntary. Decades later there are 163 million missing Asian women as a direct result of efforts to control Asian population. This is a problem of epidemic proportions and women are more commodities to be bought, sold and traded than ever before.
Third, all of this assumes that people, and children especially, are things to be manipulated for some goal. Even of that goal is deemed worthy, we cannot fall into the trap that our inherent dignity need somehow be compromised to meet that goal. Children are gifts, not items we can manipulate to fulfill certain needs. They are certainly not things from which we can choose which ones are the "best for the environment."
The Catholic Church is clear that any attempts at genetic engineering must have normal human development as the goal. The Charter for Health Care Workers states:
On the other hand, interventions which are not directly curative, the purpose of which is 'the production of human beings selected according to sex or other predetermined qualities,' which change the genotype of the individual and of the human species, 'are contrary to the personal dignity of the human being, to his integrity and to his identity. Therefore they can be in no way justified on the pretext that they will produce some beneficial results for humanity in the future,' 'no social or scientific usefulness and no ideological purpose could ever justify an intervention on the human genome unless it be therapeutic, that is its finality must be the natural development of the human being.The goal of intervention on the human body must be therapeutic in nature keeping the inherent dignity of each individual the foremost concern. Therapeutic for the person, not for the planet.
Friday, January 27. 2012
The Obama Administration and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have told Catholic institutions all across the country they must violate their conscience and provide coverage for hormonal contraceptives.
The response by Catholic bishops and Catholics everywhere has been loud and proud. We know that this mandate violates our religious rights guaranteed by the Constitution. Despite our cries, it seems clear that Obama and HHS really do not care about our free exercise of religion.
But I wonder if Obama and HHS care about the environment. Yes. That's right the environment. Obama is always talking about green energy and has branded himself a champion of the environment.
And yet all this newly covered hormonal contraception will cause even more damage to lakes, rivers and streams and the wildlife in them. The fact is, hormonal birth control has wreaked havoc on the environment for decades.
In 2003, a Seattle Post Intelligencer headline warned that birth control may be harming the state salmon population. They reported that synthetic estrogen, an ingredient in hormonal contraception, is "showing up in waterways around the nation" being dumped there from sewage treatment plants. And the levels found are high enough to harm wildlife. The Intelligencer reported:
Birth-control pills can curb the reproduction of more than just the women taking them. Western Washington scientists have found that synthetic estrogen -- a common ingredient in oral contraceptives -- can drastically reduce the fertility of male rainbow trout.Hormonal contraceptives are harming wildlife in Colorado too. In 2007, the National Catholic Register reported that EPA-funded scientists at the University of Colorado found a high level of female and strange "inter-sex" fish in Boulder Creek. The culprit? Estrogens and other hormones from birth-control pills. From the Register article:
It’s “the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me,” said then 59-year-old University of Colorado biologist John Woodling, speaking to the Denver Post in 2005.Contaminating drinking water. Jillian Michaels, of Biggest Loser fame, tells the obese in her book Master Your Metabolism to forgo hormonal contraceptives and opt for condoms because hormonal contraceptives disrupt natural hormone balances making it hard to maintain a healthy weight. Is it even remotely possible that our nation's problem with obesity may be more than just a calorie consumption issue?
And with these reports of hormones in waterways around the country, one would think that environmentalists and the health conscious everywhere would be taking up the charge to clean up and prevent the contamination. But no one seems to care. This lack of concern puzzles some including George Harden, a board member of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. Harden told the Register:
“It’s going to start looking funny. The radical environmentalist won’t eat a corn chip if the corn contacted a pesticide. But they view it a sacred right and obligation to consume synthetic chemicals that alter a woman’s natural biological functions, even if this practice threatens innocent aquatic life downstream.”With Obama such a champion of the environment and Michele so obsessed with the obesity epidemic, I wonder if HHS would be more likely to grant exceptions to the mandate to cover hormonal contraceptives on environmental grounds than on religious grounds?
They probably would. Which is sad because the religious objection is the one actually protected by the Constitution. Maybe Catholic institutions should re-brand themselves as environmental organizations. Maybe then our objections to being forced to cover damaging hormonal contraception wouldn't be so carelessly cast aside.
Wednesday, September 28. 2011
I have always feared that, in the name of the environment, man would do terrible things to each other. Why? I remember a study that found that those identifying themselves as "green" were more likely to steal and less likely to be kind. The authors of the study were surprised. I was not. Radical environmentalism (and not-so-radical environmentalism) often hides a hatred for humanity. Some people who embrace the "green" movement also believe that humans are a blight on the planet. If in their minds we are THE problem, it makes sense that such people would engage in misanthropic behavior. They are good to the planet and so do not have to be good to their fellow man who is screwing it up. In other words its the "Green" Golden Rule: Do unto to your neighbor what you believe they are doing to the planet.
Unfortunately, this disturbing story from the New York Times illustrates the horrific possibilities when "the environment" is placed above human lives. Ugandans were killed and their homes burned to make room for trees that are meant to offset carbon emissions:
KICUCULA, Uganda — According to the company’s proposal to join a United Nations clean-air program, the settlers living in this area left in a “peaceful” and “voluntary” manner.This misanthropy hiding behind environmentalism is as disturbing as it is unnecessary. We can take care of the planet without marginalizing our fellow man. We can look at protecting the environment as a way to better creation AND humanity at the same time. Pope Benedict IX said in his message for the World Day of Peace:
Respect for creation is of immense consequence, not least because “creation is the beginning and the foundation of all God’s works”, and its preservation has now become essential for the pacific coexistence of mankind. Man’s inhumanity to man has given rise to numerous threats to peace and to authentic and integral human development – wars, international and regional conflicts, acts of terrorism, and violations of human rights. Yet no less troubling are the threats arising from the neglect – if not downright misuse – of the earth and the natural goods that God has given us. For this reason, it is imperative that mankind renew and strengthen “that covenant between human beings and the environment, which should mirror the creative love of God, from whom we come and towards whom we are journeying...”Hat Tip: Creative Minority
Thursday, August 25. 2011
Behind the bar at the Turf
In my junior year of college, I took sometime off from my chemistry studies and went to Oxford University to study English literature, philosophy and Latin. To pay my way, I poured pints at The Turf Tavern. The Turf's motto is "Find us if you can!" because it is a pub nestled right outside the old city walls with only two small alleyways that lead to it. It was purposefully hidden due to the illegal activity like drinking and gambling that would take place there over the centuries. The Turf is an old pub, possibly the oldest in Oxford, dating all the way back to the 13th century.
What does my beloved Turf Tavern have to do with the engineering of humans? Well, if there was one thing I learned working at the Turf was that people back in the 13th century were short. And they were small. The Turf Tavern is notorious for its low ceilings. Trying to squeeze my average size 12 backside up the stairwell while simultaneously ducking, each time I had to go speak to my manager, (his name was Biff Clifford - no joke) I realized how much bigger humans are today. It made me ponder how much bigger we will get in the next 500 years.
Turf's low ceilings
Fast forward to modern day, and I am married to a man who is 6'7" and weighs around 325. He is a giant that wears size 16 shoes. I would take him back to the Turf Tavern for a visit, (if his scary long legs would fit in a coach airplane seat) but he would not be able to stand up straight in there. Because my husband is such a large man, we make different choices. Our furniture does not come from Ikea. No pressboard for us, only real wood. Our cars do not get good gas mileage. Watching him try to squeeze into anything other than a Suburban is a pretty entertaining sight. And do not even get me started on the laundry. A few of his items, and the washer is full. My four children will be giants as well. At 5'4" I will be the shortest and smallest by far.
Which brings me to the human engineering. I found this MIT review called "The Shrinkage Solution." It is about a decades old proposal that we should consider engineering humans to be smaller. In 1967, at the same time the Western world was fearful of overpopulation, civil engineers Robert Hansen and Myle Holley suggested that we use technology to make people shrink with the idea that smaller people consume less and take up less space. Hansen and Holley wrote:
This may seems like a ludicrous idea. But remember at the time this was written the West was panicked about overpopulation. The Population Bomb, a book by Paul Ehlrich that warned of food shortages as early as the 1970s, came out in 1968. As reported by Mara Hvistendahl in her book Unnatural Selection, western population control advocates, the Ford and Rockefeller Foundations, Planned Parenthood, the guy who made Dixie cups and even Disney poured money and propaganda into Asia convincing them that they needed to control their population or their children would suffer and the world would starve. Some also argued that it was morally acceptable to abort their girls to achieve population goals. Now Asia is faced with not only an aging population, but one where there is a dearth of women.
Why should we care about a decades old proposal to engineer humans to be smaller? It is a warning. Then it was overpopulation, now it is "climate change." True believers that humans are destroying the planet will suggest anything to "save the environment." From a global one-child policy, to volunteer extinction, to a virus that wipes out 90% of the human population, draconian ideas to control the virus of humanity lurk everywhere. Be mindful that the environmental movement of today hides a real hatred for humanity and may embrace all kinds of craziness to rid the planet of our over consumption. Evidenced by the MIT reviewer ending his piece with Hansen and Holley's question:
It is not lost on me that it would be my family that would be the most worthy of "study."
Wednesday, May 25. 2011
One of the movements that scares me the most is the radical environmentalism that views humanity as a blight on the planet and that openly and not so openly desires the elinimation of mankind to better the rest of the earth. I believe the idea that we should prize animals and nature over human life is more prevalent than the average person realizes. It is a dangerous precedent to value human lives less than that of others in the animal kingdom. There was another culture that did just that. It was Nazi Germany. I was reminded of the animal loving Nazi's when I read this article about Hitler's attempt to create an army of talking dogs:
Dr Bondeson, an author of a number of history books, claims the Nazis viewed dogs as being almost as intelligent as humans and believed that only physical limitations prevented them from interacting as equals.
According to Dr. Bondeson, after the Jews were taken away to concentration camps, the concern was for the pets left behind:
"Part of the Nazi philosophy was that there was a strong bond between humans and nature - they believed a good Nazi should be an animal friend.
There is nothing wrong with protecting the environment and the animals that share the planet. There is something wrong with assuming that our lives are less worthy than the life that surrounds us.
Tuesday, December 7. 2010
But now we can say that left-wing environmentalists DO want to control what goes on in your bedroom in a much more intrusive way than any conservative could ever dream. Some want to enforce a Chinese one-child policy across the globe which means forced contraception, forced abortion, forced sterilization. Talk about "reproductive rights." Talk about telling you what you should or shouldn't be doing in your bedroom. The arrogance is astounding.
Ted Turner has gotten on the one-child band wagon and recently pushed for a global one-child policy where people from developing countries can "sell their fertility rights" to make money. From the Globe and Mail:
Selling your "fertility rights" for profit. It there a more crass attempt at degrading the the gift of procreation?
At this time, I find nothing more threatening to the sacredness of human life than the idea that humans are a virus on this planet that need to be eliminated. To this end, governments around the world will institute the most Draconian policies and subjugate the people, taking away one of their most fundamental natural inclinations: to have and love children. And they will do it in the name of saving the planet, with no real evidence that it will. A few men can wreak as much havoc on the environment as many.
What radical environmentalists do not seem to understand is that humans are part of the environment as well. Getting rid of humans doesn't "fix" the environment, it only changes it.
Many times, I find truth in fiction; warnings that should not be disregarded. In the movie Children of Men, man no longer can have children. A biological phenomenon has halted our procreation. Suddenly the world is only populated with adults and war breaks out. Without children, man is hell-bent on self-destruction. One child is born in the midst of the chaos and the sound of a newborn's cry halts a gunfight in its tracks. Profound.
Children are the best man has to offer. They are the best thing we produce. Nothing else is as precious. Nothing else inspires us more to be our at our best. Take away the children and I believe you take away the best part of humanity.
Monday, October 4. 2010
I posted a few weeks ago about how radical environmentalism hides a hatred for humanity. Here is a disgusting example of how not-so radical environmentalism can also be a cover for misanthropy. This "no pressure" push of the 10:10 Project to have everyone reduce their carbon emission by 10% is the worst case of environmental scare tactics I have ever seen.
I guess it was supposed to be funny. Instead it is a scary look into the subconscious of some main stream environmentalists who no doubt would like to "blow up" people apathetic to their cause. I bet they are still scratching their heads wondering what everyone finds so offensive.
James Delingpole of the Guardian UK said it perfectly:
WARNING this video is graphic and disturbing. Do not allow children to watch and do not watch if you are upset by blood and gore.
Wednesday, September 1. 2010
The movement of late that concerns me the most is radical environmentalism. It is not the zealous concern for the environment that disturbs me; it is the humans vs. the planet mentality that is sometimes hidden behind that concern for the environment.
Many environmental types truly believe that the planet would be a better place without humans and they want us gone. Some range from just asking that we voluntarily do not have children, some want to implement a one-child policy like China, and some hope for an outbreak of a virus like Ebola to get rid of what they see as a plague on the Earth.
James Lee, killed holding the Discovery Channel hostage, was a true believer in the misanthropic radical environmentalist agenda. His demands of the Discovery channel reveal a hatred for his fellow man, namely children, disguised by a concern for the environment. From MSNBC.com:
I think "parasitic human infants" says it all.
Lee was certainly a crazy man to take innocent hostages, but I do not think his sentiment is all that unique. I believe a milder form of his misanthropy exists among more mainstream environmentalists.
Recall a study published recently that found that those identifying themselves as "green" were more likely to steal and less likely to be kind. The authors of the study were surprised. I was not. It makes sense that people who embrace the "green" movement also believe that humans are a blight on the planet. If in their minds we are THE problem, it makes sense that such people would engage in misanthropic behavior. They are good to the planet and so do not have to be good to their fellow man who is screwing it up.
This misanthropy hiding behind environmentalism is as disturbing as it is unnecessary. We can take care of the planet without calling for the end of the human race. We can look at protecting the environment as a way to better creation AND humanity at the same time. Pope Benedict IX said in his message for the World Day of Peace:
Thursday, April 22. 2010
CatholicVote.org says it’s time to use Earth Day to celebrate nature’s greatest gift – human life.
In honor of Earth Day, I give you this quote from Janet E. Smith's Uncovering a String of Lies about the deceptions surrounding chemical contraceptives:
Tuesday, March 16. 2010
A least that is the conclusion of researchers in Canada that found that "green" consumers were more likely to steal and less likely to be kind. From The Guardian UK:
The authors of the study were surprised. I am not. It makes sense to me because many people who embrace the "green" movement also believe that humans are a huge blight on the planet. In their minds we are THE problem. It makes sense that such people would engage in misanthropic behavior. They are good to the planet and so do not have to be good to their fellow man who is screwing it up.
In other words its the "Green" Golden Rule: Do unto to your neighbor what you believe they are doing to the planet.
Hat Tip: Meredith Jessup
Sunday, July 15. 2007
Synthetic estrogen is a main component of birth control pills. It is held a break through for women and a personal choice. Of course the litmus test for a "liberal good" is that it doesn't do anyone else harm. Well, it seems that birth control hormones are harming the environment. From National Catholic Register:
Not surprisingly, there is a lack of public outcry:
So, no mention of birth control pills at Live Earth. I'm shocked! Here is my favorite quote:
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