Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Are the Catholic Bishops to Blame for Overpopulation?

The graphic nearby shows the population of the Philippines in the 20th and early 21st Centuries. I fit the data with what mathematicians call an EXPONENTIAL curve, the signature of natural processes that we call EXPLOSIONS. There are also two data points for Thailand, a country to which the Philippines is often compared, which shows how their population paths diverged beginning in the 1970s when Thailand COPIED Ferdinand Marcos' family planning program and implemented it, while successive Philippine Presidents dilly-dallied, hemmed and hawed, knelt and prayed before the Catholic Bishops of the Philippines, who have consistently taught that birth control is tantamount to murder, which of course paints Buddhist Thailand in the dark colors of genocide for having prevented the birth of 26 million people that Philippines did not.

So did the Philippines avoid murdering babies. Read this and weep from the International Herald Tribune and the United Nations Population Fund:

About 473,000 abortions, or a third of 1.4 million unplanned pregnancies, occur in the country yearly, said Rena Dona, a U.N. Population Fund official.

Two out of five women who want to use contraceptives don't have access to them, Dona told a forum on family planning.

A U.N. study showed the country needs about US$2 million (euro1.47 million) for contraceptives yearly from 2007 to 2010 to provide them free or at subsized prices to the poor.

Alberto Romualdez, a former health secretary, doubts the budget for family planning would be available anytime soon, and fears a rise in population.

"The problem is that the conservative elements of the church heirarchy seem to have the upper hand in getting access to the president's ear, that is why her policies reflect the extreme conservatism of those who oppose any kind of family planning," he added.

That's about 15 million abortions during the period of comparison with Thailand, which is indicative of Social Weather Stations findings that about 80% of Filipino families want to have fewer children. Who are the murderers now?

I vehemently oppose ABORTION as MURDER. Which is why Philippine Presidents should stop listening to the Catholic Bishops and their insane addiction to Vatican Roulette, perhaps the effect of another addiction: the one to PAGCOR.

According to the econometric studies of the University of the Philippines Center for Population Development during the same period Thailand's per capita income increased over eightfold, while the Philippines limped along with a 2.6-fold increase in the same statistic. How can we even account for hunger, poverty and deprivation that has been visited on the Filipinos by the Law of Unintended but Foreseeable Consequences?

Some on the Comment Thread have mentioned the HIV problem in Thailand. But I daresay that all over the Philippines, cheek by jowl of every Catholic Church are whorehouses, massage parlors and sex dens of every gender and abomination. Given the Church's predilection for self-deception, there is an evil omen in the fact that the United Nations estimates our HIV infection rates to be 10 to 20 times the official government estimates.

SUSMARYOSEP!

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

"I vehemently oppose ABORTION as MURDER. Which is why Philippine Presidents should stop listening to the Catholic Bishops and their insane addiction to Vatican Roulette, perhaps the effect of another addiction: the one to PAGCOR."

Tell your blog readers (by posting in your blog) first what you know about the Catholic Church's official teaching (or at least their stand) regarding abortion, the sanctity of life, and the family, before you even daresay what you deem is right. Maybe you will be surprise.

Jego said...

As far as the State is concerned, the Church is just another NGO, is it not?

What the snippet you quoted illustrates is State failure: failure to provide contraceptives to those who want them, failure to educate (the State has taken this responsibility upon itself), and failure to stand up the the NGO hierarchy.

DJB Rizalist said...

I agree with that Jego. It's just as if the State were kowtowing to the dictates of Joma and CPP, except its the Bishops and the CBCP. Same Same.

blackshama said...

DJB you are losing your SCIENTIFIC OBJECTIVITY. Catholic bishops cannot be responsible for overpopulation since THEY DO NOT COPULATE with women! (I assume they don't since they are celibate OK?)

How some Catholics set aside REASON for DOGMA may be the problem. This attitude destroys Catholic faith which alone among the religions elevates reason together with faith. Successive Philippine presidents are guilty of this.

Catholic prolifers should study the evolutionary biology of reproduction and they will be surprised.

So when DOGMA flies in the face of SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE AND THEORY (Both empirically established) then the reasonable thing to do is to reinterpret DOGMA and define its limits of interpretation. The Catholic Church to its credit has done just that with Darwinian Theory.

There is an evolutionary explanation for contraception and even abortion and this happens in nature. Contraception and abortion are not logically the same. To equate both (as what many Pinoy prolifers have done) without evidence does violence to reason.

BTW before we use the word "murder" DJB has to define what "person" means. In law this means the unlawful killing of a human person with malice afterthought.

Is human zygote a person? Science can establish that a zygote can become a person but it doesn't mean it will be one.

Natural selection can act that zygotes are naturally aborted. Is nature intrinsically evil? Let me try my rusty Catholic theology. Correct me if I am wrong but to say that is a heresy!

Catholic prolifers have reduced the issue to DOGMA and many times they have parked reason aside. This is so true of the prolifers we have in the Philippines.

Pro-choicers given their relativistic morality have also done the same thing.

Jego said...

What then is a human? If youre talking genes, a zygote has all the genes that would qualify it as a human. Is it consciousness and the use thereof in addition to the genes? Then if you believe so, I suppose you are also in favor of euthanizing the comatose. When does a zygote acquire the inalienable right to life? Is it when it can live independently of the womb? That would classify babies born prematurely as not-human and could therefore be killed instead of being placed in an incubator, an artificial womb if you will, to try to save its life.

If a definition of human is available, or a definite point at which human life begins, we can lay this issue to rest. Unfortunately, we do not have one. Science can answer many things, but this is not something science can answer.

The right to life is the prime right. It could not be trumped by the right of an adult to choose whether another lives or dies because she has a modeling career and doesnt want to ruin her figure or because she wants to keep copulating without consequences. (These are extreme examples of course but I think my point is made.)

By the way, it is murder when free will is used to exterminate a life. Nature doesnt have free will, so Nature can't be a murderer.

marvin said...

Shouldn't the blame lie on the Philippine Presidents instead? The Church is always expected to act according to its parochial beliefs and advocacy. The President is the one who looks after the collective interest of the State.

The Nashman said...

The issue is how the Catholic Church is actively PREVENTING ACCESS TO INFORMATION! Not dogma!

Brian Brotarlo said...

Perhaps the best argument you can make even to the believers themselves is that population control is inevitable. It most definitely going to happen sooner or later, so why not do it now? The fact that we aren't is evidence of the irrational minds leading this country. These people in Congress, Senate, the executive, the local governments are profoundly irrational people. Irrational if they care; the rest, apathetic.

DJB Rizalist said...

I do think that the Catholic Bishops are responsible for the 25 million more filipinos we produced than Thailand in the comparative period. At least indirectly because no President has dared oppose them.

In complex moral situations I believe it is the duty of the Bishops to discern how their teachings, policies and actions have actually turned out, whether for the good of the people or not. We have given them the benefit of the doubt these past 40 years, and adopted public policies that have led directly to the present situation.

Is it not the moral obligation of bishops to prevent the greater injustice and evil of hunger, poverty and deprivation as compared to whatever evil it is they see in modern methods of birth control like pills and condoms.

Blackshama--I've used the term "murder" not in the legal sense but in the colloquial sense that I constantly hear it from priests and dogmatists who certainly use that term in respect of non abortion related birth control, like skin implanted time release contraceptives. But what would say is the "evil" that the Church is seeking to prevent by opposing birth control methods like pills and condoms? And how does it compare to the self-evident effects on the sheer number of people that cannot be sustained by themselves or society?

Anonymous, you may take a crack at the question above yourself. As for daring to say what I think is true, in the eyes of God and my own conscience you know darn well your advice has already been ignored.

Let me repeat this point. It is our moral obligation in complex and ambiguous situations to discern what the greater evil and injustice is and to prevent THAT, even if it means re-interpreting dogma to suit. So what IS the evil or injustice inherent in modern birth control methods not related to abortion that is greater than the hunger and poverty that dogmatically opposing them leads to.

DJB Rizalist said...

I do think that the Catholic Bishops are responsible for the 25 million more filipinos we produced than Thailand in the comparative period. At least indirectly because no President has dared oppose them.

In complex moral situations I believe it is the duty of the Bishops to discern how their teachings, policies and actions have actually turned out, whether for the good of the people or not. We have given them the benefit of the doubt these past 40 years, and adopted public policies that have led directly to the present situation.

Is it not the moral obligation of bishops to prevent the greater injustice and evil of hunger, poverty and deprivation as compared to whatever evil it is they see in modern methods of birth control like pills and condoms.

Blackshama--I've used the term "murder" not in the legal sense but in the colloquial sense that I constantly hear it from priests and dogmatists who certainly use that term in respect of non abortion related birth control, like skin implanted time release contraceptives. But what would say is the "evil" that the Church is seeking to prevent by opposing birth control methods like pills and condoms? And how does it compare to the self-evident effects on the sheer number of people that cannot be sustained by themselves or society?

Anonymous, you may take a crack at the question above yourself. As for daring to say what I think is true, in the eyes of God and my own conscience you know darn well your advice has already been ignored.

Let me repeat this point. It is our moral obligation in complex and ambiguous situations to discern what the greater evil and injustice is and to prevent THAT, even if it means re-interpreting dogma to suit. So what IS the evil or injustice inherent in modern birth control methods not related to abortion that is greater than the hunger and poverty that dogmatically opposing them leads to.

DJB Rizalist said...

Jego,
I think the ordinary human male could theoretically sire 100 million human beings. Do all such hypothetical human beings have a "right to life"?

marvin,
I do blame the Presidents for being gutless and unstatesmanlike in not looking after the welfare of the people. But I also blame the Church for their irresponsible dogmatism on this matter. I don't think the evidence can be denied that the policies both secular and religious authorities adopted have led to poverty and hunger, at least in a relative sense. Things could not be very much worse, but they certainly could've been much better. WE are multiplying like rats and rabbits. Its, uhmmm, inhuman. We've given them both the benefit of the doubt. We can't hide our heads in the sand. Besides the Philippines hierarchy is nearly unique in the world, as Pernia pointed out. Even in South America they've accepted the need to curb human fecundity, or else Nature and Economics will do it for us in a more painful and deadly way.

Frankly I think it's useless talking zygotes and blastocysts and all that. The choice is clear: is it moral or immoral to support birth control (ex abortion).

DJB Rizalist said...

Btw, would anyone care to comment on the alleged connection between those half million or so abortion-murders and the lack of access to effective birth control? It adds up to 15 million dead fetuses which might not have happened if the pregnancy simply never occurred.

Equalizer said...

i watched the explainer today.Congrats!

What a shame that the Bataan nuclear power plant was not used at all!

I suspect that's what going to happen also to the new "old" airport

blackshama said...

Jego

Don't presuppose I believe that I am in favour of euthanizing the comatose. None of my arguments have that premise. Assuming that I have is a classic logical fallacy that prolifers fall into! This is what we call a red herring.

A zygote has the potential to be a human being. We base our moral argument on that potential and this is why the zygote has to be allowed to ontogenetically develop. This is the precautionary principle that environmentalists speak about.

What does human life start? Roman Catholicism has had to identify a starting point (conception) but Eastern Christianity sees this as continuum.

Vatican Astronomer Fr George Coyne SJ is of the opinion it is better from both science and philosophy to see it as a continuum and at each ontogenetic stage a different range of potentialities.

mesiamd said...

Why don't we exercise the separation of the church and state?

We have the option to reject CC's teaching. Look at our sagging morality, corruption, our record of abortions,... aren't these signs that we can do what we want in spite of CC's prohibitions? Why blame CC when we're basically our own ship's captain?

HILLBLOGGER said...

In a way, the Philippine Catholic Church has a hand in the country's population explosion, i.e., encouraging their adherents, the Filipino followers to resort to some kind of superstitious rituals.

But the most to blame is the government for its absence of clear policy in curbing population explosion. Gloria and her "do lalliying" in terms of birth control policy and the means to enforce the policy is largely to be blamed.

Of course, Filipinos have themselves to blame too because at the end of the day, they should be "masters of their fate."

Dominique said...

Don't be so quick to jump on the Thailand "success story." From the CIA World Fact Book info on Thailand:

Population: 65,493,298. Estimates for this country explicitly take into account the effects of excess mortality due to AIDS; this can result in lower life expectancy, higher infant mortality, higher death rates, lower population growth rates, and changes in the distribution of population by age and sex than would otherwise be expected (July 2008 est.)

Also take note that Thailand's infant mortality rate is at 18/1,000 live births. That might be better than our 21/1,000, but worrying when you consider that their birth rate is 13/1,000 people (as opposed to our 24/1,000 people).

Also, Thailand's median age is now at 33 years, worryingly close to Singapore's 39 years and Japan's 43 years. Japan, as you know, is facing a graying population which will eventually lead to social collapse unless reversed.

After the resounding success of its family planning program, Singapore also faced a population shortage. Singapore is now posting population growth of 1.138% but it's not because they're making more Singaporean babies (only 9 births/1,000 people); it's because they're importing more people (7 migrants/1,000 people).

But maybe that's what we want, isn't it? Less of the "undesirable" Filipinos and more of the "desirable" expats.

I'll be convinced of your family planning arguments for the Philippines when you can find a family planning solution for Singapore, Japan, and the rest of Europe. People-on-tap, that's the real idea. Easier said than done.

Jego said...

Ah, see? Pro-life vs. Pro-choice is a hot button issue and is a bit tangential to the point of DJB's post but it's something we should all explore.

DJB: I think the ordinary human male could theoretically sire 100 million human beings. Do all such hypothetical human beings have a "right to life"?

Humans have 46 chromosomes, DJB. Sperm cells have 23. If it has 46, you could argue that it has a right to life.

The choice is clear: is it moral or immoral to support birth control (ex abortion).

My answer: Moral. The Catholic supports it and so they think it's moral too. Right now they disapprove of artificial birth control, but they dont have dogma on it. It can still change. I see somewhere along the way, their changing their stand on certain artificial means. Pope JP the first was doing some consultations regarding that before he died.

blackshama:Don't presuppose I believe that I am in favour of euthanizing the comatose. None of my arguments have that premise.

Yes. The 'you' in the comment was addressed to the world at large. It was a general 'you'. Apologies for the ambiguity. It was meant to show that there are no hard and fast answers to this issue.

HB: Of course, Filipinos have themselves to blame too because at the end of the day, they should be "masters of their fate."

I read a statistic somewhere -- Im sorry I can't find it -- that said only 40% or so of Filipino women nationwide knew about effective means of birth control. The information hasnt reached the 60%.

DJB Rizalist said...

dom,
Thailand's HiV epidemic needs to be compared with our ABORTION epidemic (400,000+ per year).

Also, the UN Pop Fund says PHilippine HIV estimates are 10% of their own for the PHilippines. Considering all the whorehouses in Manila alone, it is unlikely that we are right and the UN is wrong. We are vastly underreporting HIV infection rates, in my opinion.

The matter of population pyramids is also instructive. The endpoint distribution has a rectangular age distribution as found in developed countries, not the flat triangular (high young proportion) that we find in countries like the Philippines.

The fact that 80% of Filipinos want smaller families too cannot be ignored.

Our high population is an artifact of public policy. That seems to be an inescapable conclusion. Leaving theoretical econometric models behind, it boils down to an assessment of whether we think having such a large population helps or not with things like hunger, poverty incidence.

I think we've given one side more than ample benefit of the doubt to prove that the present situation is better than all other scenarios.

It simply is not. That's all the Thai case proves.

Dominique said...

In the same way that the low population of the countries I mentioned are artifacts of their own public policy. They've shown that population growth can be curtailed; they have yet to show that population decline can be reversed.

And are you saying that because they offer sex education in Thailand, there are no abortions there? Think again! Thailand has an estimate of over 300,000 abortions every year. (Estimates, like ours, and quoting the same magic figure from the air.)

Dominique said...

By the way, those figures being estimates, I find it unjustifiable to use them to advance an argument. That goes either way.

Regardless, abortions do not figure in infant mortality surveys.

DJB Rizalist said...

Dom,
I admit that abortions being illegal it is highly unreliable to take the data as fact. However, it does seem reasonable to assume that because 80% of Filipinos say in surveys that they really want smaller families that at least some of those who don't have access to birth control may resort to one time expenditure on rather dangerous "palaglag" clinics and oral abortifacients which endanger the pregnant mother more than the foetus in many cases.

Regarding "blaming the bishops" this is certainly an emotion laden post title that I chose to use.

And yes, it is arguable that they are directly or solely responsible for the result.

However, my contention is that it is time for the Bishops themselves to ask whether the evil they seek to prevent by their undeniable policy of opposition to modern birth control methods is in in fact greater or lesser than the evil that evidently results from that policy.

If I am to blame them for anything, it is their reluctance not to undertake such an examination and the invariant stand that has led to me to suggest the present situation suits them just fine.

Thailand is certainly no paradise, but then neither is the Philippines, which, by any measure is worse off.

Dominique said...

Hi, Dean: well, I have a few choice words for the bishops, but it certainly doesn't involve matters concerning contraception.

In all my arguments so far, I have not once used the religious stand for or against.

Ironically, it seems that it's you who have taken a moral stand when you declare you are against abortion. But you are caught halfway in between the desirable population control-by-contraception (for economic reasons) and the abhorrent abortion which, stripped of moral context, is a more effective means towards the same end. You will ultimately have to choose which one will have primacy: if contraception fails (as it sometimes does), is abortion acceptable?

Your argument hinges on the supposition that availability of contraception will reduce the incidence of abortion. That is not the case.

I'll admit that there will be some negative correlation between abortion and availability of modern contraceptives, but this trend seems to occur only in areas where none were previously available. However, there comes a point where abortion co-exists with other "acceptable" contraceptive methods.

One would think that the United States, that most liberal and liberated of countries, would not suffer the blight of abortion. But it does. Estimates for 2003 place the number of abortions performed at 1,287,000. Compare that with our own estimated 400,000 abortions and our respective female populations bet 15 and 65 (102M and 28M) and you will see that the ratios are not too far off. (The US abortion numbers are from Guttmacher Institute, the proponent for population control).

Similar could be said of France, which has 220,000 abortions per year (vs. 20M women).

If Italy, with 135,000 abortions per year (vs. 19M women) can claim a lower percentage, it is because their median age is almost twice ours.

Study the trends: where contraception takes root, abortion is sure to follow.

Jego said...

where contraception takes root, abortion is sure to follow.

There's something quite not right about that that I can't quite put a finer on, dominique. Perhaps it's the 'sure'. The correlation might be between abortion and moral decline, instead of abortion and contraception. But how do you quantify moral decline so that it'll look good in charts? If for instance, the Church declares artificial means of birth control acceptable and strongly condemns abortion like it always does, would we still see the same correlation of contraception and abortion in this Catholic country? I submit that it won't (but since we're speculating, that isnt worth anything until we try it).

You can't talk about this without getting into the moral ek-ek since if we didnt, then sure abortion is a perfectly valid way to control population. Euthanasia is too. So is eugenics.

The Nashman said...

"that the United States, that most liberal and liberated of countries............."

??????????????????????

Dominique said...

Jego: now you're skirting the issue by introducing the moral factor. As you said, we can't quantify moral decline, and so it has no basis in the discussion. But we can quantify abortion, and the numbers belie the fallacy that availability of contraception will reduce abortions.

Since you introduced the moral ek-ek, let me ask you: what demographic is likely to abort their pregnancies? Is it the married women who conceived the child with their husbands? Or is it women who conceive from extramarital relations?

Nashman: the context is sex.

Jego said...

now you're skirting the issue by introducing the moral factor.

Dom, Im really not because I believe it belongs in the discussion. Moral decline can't be quantified but that doesnt mean it has no basis in the discussion. Democracy, separation of powers, and the role of the State can't be quantified either but you have to admit it's pretty important in this discussion.

what demographic is likely to abort their pregnancies? Is it the married women who conceived the child with their husbands? Or is it women who conceive from extramarital relations?

Frankly I couldnt give you a categorical answer as I dont have the numbers on that. I personally know of married women who had abortions because they couldnt raise the child, and dont know of any who had abortions because of extramarital relations. Understandable because extramarital relations are generally kept secret.

But conceding that 'extramarital women' are more likely to have abortions, what does it have to do with the correlation between contraception and abortion in the Philippine setting?