walkitout (walkitout) wrote,

David Niose, _Nonbeliever Nation_, not a review

I'm reading along, mostly happy with the book (which I was _very_ happy to see added to the library in Mayberry <-- not its real name), when I hit 2-3 pages (116-118) about "Overpopulation Denial" as something characteristic of Religious Folk and which the Secular Perspective could add value in opposition to.

This makes me cranky. I'm a Fred Pearce fan on the subject, many of the high points picked up in this Salon interview:


Rhetoric, especially environmentally oriented rhetoric, about overpopulation has a tendency to slide into Brown People Shouldn't Breed/Don't Let Brown People Move to Our Country, which All Decent People Should Recoil at in Horror when encountering, but frequently just nod their heads like this is some Wisdom From On High, to use a religious metaphor. But hey, maybe the New Atheists are smarter than that, right?

Well, maybe not.


"China got it right when they passed a decree,
Limiting only one child to each family."

That's apparently from April 2012.

Really? Because it's okay to limit reproductive freedom as long as it's in the direction you prefer? Come on.

http://www.secularhumanism.org/index.php?section=library&page=flynn_24_5 (top google result on secular american overpopulation)

Let's go back to 1950s level of population! Written by a guy who was probably a very young person at the time, thus putting this firmly in the Conservative category, however he may identify. Looks to be written maybe in 2004 or 2005.

The main reason I like Pearce's stance, frankly, is that it aligns with one of my primary beliefs and values: individual women, with access to resources and the right to make their own decisions, will make individual decisions that are best for themselves and their family. Summed over the population of all women, the result will be the BEST decision possible: most sensitive to local conditions, best as a transitional policy, etc. Policies which attempt to thwart this process (whether by denying access to a wide variety of inexpensive forms of reproduction control OR by denying women the right to reproduce when and how they see fit, and, honestly, even by trying to reward them for reproducing more than they are inclined to do) are doomed to failure.


But you look really stupid when you sign up for either side of this proposition. By including "Overpopulation Denial" in his book about Secular Americans, Niose did not do Enough to distance himself from the lunatics who think the One Child Policy is a good idea.

ETA: Wow, finding atheists who are opposed to reproductive freedom in its full form is really disturbingly easy.


"“Forced population control” likely refers to denying couples the freedom to breed as much as they like. Presently, China is the only place where restrictions on the right to breed exist, and there are so many exceptions to their one-child policy that their TFR, 1.5 in 2011, has never achieved 1.0.

On the other hand, “forced population control” exists everywhere that couples are denied their basic human right to not breed. Denying couples their right to not produce another dependent, especially when they can’t care for the ones they have, is far worse than denying them the freedom to create more offspring."

Oh, boy. The underlying reality is that these, um, people aren't actually taken seriously by even as many people as, say, Santorum, so there's almost no point in attacking their position. _But they make secular americans/atheists/agnostics look bad_. And that is a problem.
Tags: not-a-book-review, religion
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