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Population: Birth and the Earth

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Condom, pill, other methods, ending with vasectomy or 'tubes tied'? The first commandment in the bible is to 'be fruitful and multiply'.  Does that conflict with using birth control? Is it religiously responsible to use birth control? Is it ecologically responsible to not use birth control? SJ: + 
A midrash that Adam spent 130 years spilling seeds (related to his 'sin') This fallen seed was reincarnated in [slavery in] Egypt:   GG: + 
Ben David (the Messiah) won't come until all the 'neshamot' (souls) have been incarnated in bodies: Generations from the seeds/ Zera: So having more kids is a way to speed the coming of the Messiah (moshiach):  BE: + 
However is that descriptive or prescriptive-- is merely it an observation, that all the souls have to come through bodies for the redemption to come, or is it a prescription to speed up the process by having more children regardless of context? MO: + 
Relevant essay to this discussion is Mopsik's 'Body of Engenderment' MO: + 
Purpose of creation is not just to be alive and do no harm/ use no resources, but tikun? ('fixing'): Souls come back into bodies to do their tikun-- we are each important: Seeing the world as static or dynamic EM: + 
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Potlatch: Abundance thinking as potential not as actual: Abundance means there can be enough for everybody: MM: + 
Amartya Sen: Famine is political: Not about food but money and distribution: MO: + 
[Improvements in] modern medicine: people with birth defects and diseases can live more & longer: society's morality--are less likely to be abandoned at birth: EM: + 
People are not equal in impact: Environmental footprint of One American = 50 Bolivians e.g... Developed use more resources than undeveloped countries, however developing countries have lower pollution standards and are where forests are being cut down. MO: + 
Ecological time vs. human time: Last 200 years accelerated impacts and change, due to industrial revolution, sanitation, medicine: SJ: + 
There is a tendency for western, ecologically-minded people to harshly judge traditional peoples & cultures for valuing life/ birth differently, whether developing countries or tribal societies or religious Muslims or Christians or Jews who are choosing to have higher birthrates. ID: + 
When discussing whether people/ cultures/ countries should control their birthrate with ecological constraints in mind, how much do we get to control our reality or others' actions? Who would or should have the power to do so, no matter how well-meaning? [cf. Categorical imperative] SJ: + 
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Contributors:
RL:Ranger Ludd, BE:Betzalel Edwards, EM:Eliyahu McLean, ID:Irene Diamond, GG:Gershon Gottlieb
Ecological science and environmentalism tend to accept a model that puts human birth in conflict with the well-being of the earth.
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'Pru R'Vu' Go forth and multiply--how does that relate to access to and use of Birth Control?  SJ: + 
In times of famine there's a halacha to stop sex in order to not be giving birth BE: + 
Infanticide in tribal societies and Abortion in modern west to control population. Empowering women: [freedom of] choice: Wanted vs. unwanted children. MM: + 
[As Shaul's student said,] Nature's beautiful & perfect, humans just destroy it-- So why am I alive?: With that attitude, do humans 'belong' or see ourselves as belonging? SJ: + 
This breeds hopelessness, belief in Apocalyptic eco crisis: But what underlies it is Nihilism & Existentialism, not necessarily facts: ID: + 
It's like the highest ideal of such environmental thinking/ activism is, it's Brave to commit suicide! [--so as to 'save' the earth from one's own consumption etc.] SJ: + 
Roots of [this kind of] environmentalism, secular & scientific values/ reductionism [which see humans as somehow objective/ separate from nature, superfluous to the wholeness of creation] are in rationalism (Greece/Yavan) and in Christianity: Christians consider humans to be born in sin [blemishes on creation?]: Jesus was the ultimate self-sacrifice [and bravest act, in that way of thinking]: Crucifixion was the ultimate infanticide? SW: + 
Thus in that story God sacrificed his own son: [this relates to the] Akeida, Abraham's near-sacrifice of Isaac: In both stories--an idea of canceling oneself out, like death is more real than life.  Is that underlying such environmental thinking? MO: + 
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Our context/ assumption: yes there's a world crisis: ecological, spiritual, capitalism/ material: ID: + 
Zero Population Growth (ZPG): People becomes a population- number?: scientific reductionism: The_Population_Bomb (Bestselling 1968 book predicting Malthusian catastrophe as a result of approaching world overpopulation based on current rates of growth.) SJ: + 
Demographic reductionism dominates the population/resources model--this is a mistake. The relationship between the number of people and the impact on the environment is not so simple. Are humans even 'separate' from the natural world/ environment? ID: + 
Is ecological science dominated by conceptions of scarcity? Are ecosystems stable in any way that can be 'preserved'? Can an approach of abundance serve both science and human needs? MM: + 
Daniel Quinn's 'Takers' and 'Leavers' relevant: Does Quinn accept that human birth and the well-being of the earth are opposed?: Eve 'Hava' is the gift of life: Life without limit?: SJ: + 
This is a telling difference between roots Judaism and roots Christianity. The sacrifices are paralleled - but only one is actually carried out.  MO: + 
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In 'primitive' societies which practice infanticide, and in modern western societies with access to abortion-on-demand, arguably about the same number of children are born from all conceptions.   As opposed to agricultural societies until the modern west-- much higher birthrate and less freedom for women to choose to bear and raise children. See Why MM: + 
Jewish population issues: There was a census done in the Torah. Yet it's also forbidden by the Torah to count Jews. GG: + 
Europeans considered there to be 'too many' Jews before the Shoah... Now Jews are worried there is not enough of us (in Israel vs. Arabs, in America wrt Assimilation.) BE: + 
Implicit/unspoken thinking among the ultra-orthodox is to replace Holocaust victims with big families: Haredi mindset 10+ children-- seen as anathema to environmentalists: EM: + 
Haredim moving closer to Christian right: Catholic Pope is famously against birth control, and influential enough to affect world birth-rate: Thus the Pope is seen as against ecological values. ID: + 
When a rural village in India introduced TV, the birth rate went down measurably.  In general, the more education-- esp. a college degree-- is the most reliable predictor of a lower birthrate. This is to suggest that birthrate may be a function of many other sociological factors. MO: + 
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