On Science, Overpopulation Myth, and the Idiocy of the Filipino Freethinkers
There’s a fascist group of neo-mystics (atheists with a distorted concept of reason, of science, and of freedom) who strongly push for the passage of an
anti-population bill in Congress. This neo-Nazi collective—the Filipino Free-Farters (Freethinkers)—claims that their arguments for the fascist Reproductive Health bill are based on science and objective facts. However, my objective and honest analysis of their flawed and sophistic arguments reveals that nothing could be farther from the truth.
There’s a need to address the flawed, distorted logic and unscientific arguments of these free-farters, as they have been promoting their “big government” agenda since their inception. This statist group wants political power. They have two means of achieving political power: 1) by supporting and endorsing the statist/socialist politicians that fit their neo-Nazi agenda, and 2) by means of entering the political process by running as a party-list group.
For years the free-farters have been promoting the RH bill via their website and social networks. They strongly support this bill for the following reasons:
- They believe that overpopulation exists and is a problem;
- They believe that this bill would promote the good and welfare of the poor and women;
- They believe that it’s the role of the government to redistribute wealth;
- They have a distorted concept of rights, of the role of the government, of the nature of man, and of reason, science and freedom.
- They ‘somehow’ believe that the government is the solution to ‘some’ social problems.
Now there’s a new topic posted on their online forum titled Is RH a “wise” way to spend taxpayers’ money?
Since the Free-Farters believe in big government and since they have a distorted concept of rights, they don’t see any problem with spending our way out of the so-called “overpopulation” problem.
A Free-Farter codenamed “twin-Skies” states:
“Let me put it this way: Extensive RH education and contraceptives program = less unwanted children = less abandoned kids on the streets. The way I see it, that translates to a lowered crime rate that makes it far less likely that I’ll be robbed of my hard-earned cash. Conversely, families can potentially put more resources into raising the kids they already have, ensuring a more secure future for them. This will eventually result in a better educated workforce that you can eventually hire, which equals more profits in the long run.”
Another free-farter codenamed “monk” strongly agreed, saying “the RH is, in effect, a long-term strategy of minimizing offspring that cannot be cared for responsibly by parents who have little or no resources to raise them properly.” He added: “When you see the numbers of street kids and unemployable (due to no schooling and training) people do down compared to a No-RH scenario, it would pay for itself by putting less strain on the urban infrastructure.”
However, there’s a lone dissenter codenamed “tamarindox” who had the courage to oppose the farters and their agenda. Tamarindox argued that the RH bill is a “stupid way to spend taxpayers’ money.”
To demolish the altruistic and mystical arguments of the farters, Tamarindox states:
“First you have to know exactly what is the ONLY PROPER FUNCTION of the government in the life of an individual person. What is the atheist, theist view about the nature of government? Whatever that view it will reflect the moral or ethical views. And ethical views lead back to the philosophical views (metaphysics and epistemology).
“In past history of man, we had governments: rulers, kings. What is the difference then to our modern governments. The key word is RIGHTS—INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS. That is a moral concept. In the past, there was no such idea in their thinking. Your life belongs to God. Since there is no God, your life belongs to society. Your function in life is to obey and serve others (God, Society). That is the whole integrated view. That view still exist in the minds of many around the world, either theist/religionist or atheist. That view will lead to the idea of distribution wealth–socialism, communism, fascism and other variances of the same kind. The opposite view which is INDIVIDUAL RIGHT is hardly understood or discussed.
“Many will say “I have the right to education, right to medicines, right to condoms, etc”. But they are not asking at whose expense? At the expense of others who produces it?At the expense of others who produces it by the use of force; legal force (taxation) of the government? Is it moral to use force to distribute the goods produce by others to others who do not produce it? Is it not the idea of Robinhood morality? Confiscating from the productive and giving it to the non-productive. That is very clear violation of individual rights? RB bills and many others laws of that kind are the violations of individual rights.”
The so-called forum “moderator” codenamed “innerminds” asked Tamarindox the following: “do you agree to the government collecting taxes for your security and defense (i.e., police and military)? If you answer yes, wouldn’t you also agree that your taxes spent on RH would go a long way into eliminating or at least significantly reducing the elements against which the police tries to protect us?”
Tamarindox answered this question by expounding on the proper function of the government. He wrote:
“The ONLY proper function of the government is the protection and preservation of individual rights. The police, to the criminals, the army, to the foreign invasions, the courts of law, to the disagreements and the protections of contracts. All the tax collections will be only used to that functions. The funds is more than enough to hire and train the police, military, and judges/lawyers to combat criminals, to mediate, arbiter disagreements and contracts and improve and develop facilities, equipments. It also presupposes that all the economic activities of the people will not be hampered and hindered by so many regulations and control; it mean the government is hand off with regards to economic activities or in doing business. Business will prosper, profits will be reinvested to new ideas, projects and eventually, poverty wipe out. The people will be very busy in their business activities and recreations. The number of people (the population) will eventually or naturally balance. The whole idea is full capitalism: no government intervention and control in the affair of doing business. That is the ideal and practically achievable (Look at the US it was started that way but not exactly capitalism because of introducing regulations and control).
“Based on my observations, crimes committed by ordinary people are minor in comparison to the government who enacted laws, policies that are violating the individual rights; every members of the society are affected. Lots of evidence in human history: Hitler’s Nazi (National Socialism), Marcos’ Democratic Socialism were just two example.
“Look at the government limited funds. It is budgeted more to the idea of “distribution of wealth” than to the idea of “protection of individual rights” (as I stated above). Individual right is not understood and even discussed in our school, colleges, and in the legislature. Many will say: I have the right to food, clothing, medicines, condoms, knowledge (education). But they avoid asking at whose expense? Who will provide those things? At the expense of those who produces those things with the aid of compulsory taxation? All the human basic necessities of life (food,clothing,shelter, knowledge/education) are the responsibility of each individual persons. It is not the others to provide those things.
“In addition, in a fully free society (without government intervention and control in doing business), the business sector with surplus earnings and profits will voluntarily channel to help the disabled poor as a goodwill. It is the business sector who would be able to wipe out poverty. It is the private business who are producing wealth, progress and not the government. The role of the government is to protect and preserve those free economic activities of its citizens. NOT TO CONFISCATE (LEGALLY) AND THEN DISTRIBUTE.”
A free-farter codenamed “justinaquino” responded to Tamarindox’s arguments, saying “the existence of a government or a society is pragmatic in nature.” But what this free-farter failed to understand is that the protection of individual rights is the most practical and most important function of the government. If “pragmatic” means the government or the state is justified to confiscate the private property (taxes or tangible and intangible property) of certain groups of individuals in order to serve the welfare of other people, then this reasoning is utterly unscientific and illogical, as it’s against freedom and individual rights.
This “justinaquino” went on to explain his “pragmatic” arguments for the bill:
“The cost of security, a common good, and order is lower because of economy of scales. Considering specialization, diversity and economics it costs more for an individual to exert and protect his own rights than for a group. As you move up in the complexity of what constitutes a common good, we come into the rights of the individual as well as tolerances and concessions (good will, sacrifices etc..) others have to make for the more economic common good.
“Ideally, the Net Good is greater than the cost of the sacrifices which keeps people within the frame work of the society/government. Of course Good or Utility is relative to the perception of an individual and things afforded by good will and order can be found useless by some individuals. Its also not like these individuals who find the government or society lacking attempt to change or chose alternate strategies. So as what is a “wise” expense of a taxpayer money is objectively quantifiable.
“When government prioritizes personal rights over its other attributes (like a means of accountability), it strongly favors subjective individuality over a peer evaluated and challenged/tested objectivity. How else can we get to a more objective assessment of what is good when Personal Ideas are not meant to be challenged because it infringes of one’s right to be heard or do what they believe is good?”
This statement of great absurdity is not only full of grammatical and syntax errors, but also of sophistry, fallacious arguments and contradicting premises. Since this free-farter passionately speaks of the public good or common good, he must address first this question: “Who is the public?” His phony, highly defective reasoning is almost the same as argument being used by the statists and collectivists who support the politics of the “commons”. In his controversial article titled The Tragedy of the Commons, Garret Hardin explained what happens to common resources or pool as a result of individual acquisitiveness. It is called the Tragedy of the Commons because in seeking their own personal welfare and good, the members of the group or society ultimately hurt themselves. Therefore, a society that upholds the irrational politics of “common good” is a society in the process of committing suicide.
This is how Tamarindox address the so-called “population” problem being espoused by these free-farters who claim to be defenders or reason, science and freedom:
“Population is not a problem. It is pure speculation that metro will be populated by poor people. The people in the depressed areas are working hard to earn their own living with dignity (I prove it to myself as I ones a poor living in squatters area. What the government should do is to free all business and economic activities of the people. Let the rich business people do their thing in the market without any intervention and control how to do the business. Lower the taxes. More business means more employment. And the role of the government is to preserve those activities (police, army, court of law). It is the private business who are creating wealth, giving works and not the government. The government don’t produce anything. What they do today is confiscate legally the wealth and distribute. That is the idea of socialism, communism, fascism, theocracy, authoritarianism, etc.”
This time, the so-called forum moderator-by-name codenamed “innerminds” entered the discussion and described Tamarindox’s arguments as “myopic.” He said: “You are looking at it as if life is a zero-sum game where every man’s gain necessitates an equal amount of loss to another, as if the money taxed from the productive citizens to be used for the reproductive health of the non-productive ones will never get back and benefit the productive folks in the long run.”
Innerminds’ “zero-sum game” description reeks of utter stupidity and ignorance. His spurious and erroneous argument is, in fact, an epic fail! Does this free-farter know the proper concept or definition of “zero-sum game”? Zero-sum game, according to this online source, is a situation “when the gains made by winners in an economic transaction equal the losses suffered by the losers.”
Here’s a succinct explanation of this theory from Promethea.org:
“In one form or another, a zero-sum equation is probably the most common systematic argument against a really free market of voluntary exchange. The essential basis of this argument, whatever its particular focus, is a ‘zero-sum game’ of wealth, in which everyone cuts pieces of a ‘wealth pie,’ if you will, which can only be sliced so many ways and is only so large. According to this, any addition to the amount of wealth must have been balanced by its removal from somewhere else. The additions and subtractions add up to consistent amount. Wealth may not be created, only redistributed, the gain and loss adding up to zero.”
If the Free-Farters had any brains, they would understand that the RH bill is, in fact and in reality, based on the fallacious zero-sum game theory. Is this what this neo-Nazi collective regard as “scientific” and facts-based?
Also, when someone asked the following question— “Can some expert opinion prove that a significant increase in population is bad for a developing nation?”— a free-farter (twin-skies) provided this link to prove the significant increase in the country’s population. This link contains an online article titled “Population Dynamics and Household Saving: Evidence from the Philippines.” The article’s abstract states:
“The economic growth implications due to changes in the nation’s age structure have been substantial. In the course of the demographic transition, countries experience an increasing share of the working age population relative to the total population and this creates favorable effects on economic growth. The changing age structure also influences household saving rate. This paper looks at the role of the slow demographic transition in the Philippines to its aggregate household saving rate using panel data from the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (1985 to 2003). It is known for a fact that household saving rate in the Philippines is one of the lowest in East Asia. The econometric model is based on the augmented life cycle model and the results suggest that the country’s population dynamics plays an important role in its household saving rate. The Philippines rapid population growth creates a big bulge in the lower portion of the age pyramid that resulted in a higher percentage of young dependents. This suggests that the country is paying a high price for its high population growth resulting to low saving rate and consequently, low economic growth. The results also show that remittance from migrant workers is a major source of aggregate household saving.”
If analyzed carefully this online article does not argue that population is a problem, as it concludes that the Philippines “is paying a high price for its high population growth resulting to low saving rate and consequently, low economic growth.” This, in effect, confirms my claim/argument that 1) population is not a problem; 2) that there is no logical relation between “overpopulation” and poverty; and 3) that the source of the problem is the lack of economic and individual freedom in the Philippines and the lack of political will to implement the rule of law.
To summarize, the following are Tamarindox’s arguments against the RH bill:
- The government cannot implement population control or RH programs without taxing the people and turning to some social sectors, such as employers and health care providers.
- The only proper role of the government is to protect individual rights. The RH bill would lead to the disregard of the rights of others while it is claimed that it would serve the welfare of the poor and women.
- Overpopulation is a myth! The question that we must ask is: Is there really overpopulation problem on earth or in the Philippines? If the answer is Yes, the proper question is NOT “how do we solve overpopulation” but- “is it even a problem?”
On the other hand, the free-farters defend the RH bill by presenting the following arguments:
- The government must play a role in our society. Thus, it must be given with more political powers to solve social problems like “overpopulation.”
- The government must spend taxpayers’ money in order to solve “overpopulation” problem.
- The government must have more political power to regulate and control certain social sectors, such as the enterprise community and the medical sector in order to help prevent the continued increase in the country’s population.
- So the “main solution” offered is more government powers and more state controls.
- The public good or common good may be served by disregarding the rights of other men.
- The main gist of their arguments is that Marxist credo:”From each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”
One free-farter (justinaquino) dismissed Tamarindox’s arguments by saying that the latter merely presented “conjectures” not backed by science and emotional arguments based on “unaccountable source.”
I think it’s important to analyze this irrational and desperate line of attack and better understand the role of science in this issue.
Science is defined as “the intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behavior of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment.”
Here’s another definition of science: it is a “knowledge or a system of knowledge covering general truths or the operation of general laws especially as obtained and tested through scientific method.”
So simply put, science covers “general truths or the operation of general laws.”
Science is NOT primarily the means of achieving or obtaining knowledge. It’s the RESULT of the means. The means to achieve knowledge is REASON through observation, experimentation, induction, deduction, and other scientific processes. So we use scientific principles in order to guide us in obtaining more knowledge. Science then is not the means but the result. This PRINCIPLE is philosophical in nature- and is being applied in all scientific disciplines- such as Physics, Economics, etc.
For example, we use data and pertinent information in order to know the economic condition in the Philippines. But before we get those data and information, we must conduct a series of research, surveys, or studies. What makes the result or the output of a particular study SCIENTIFIC is the fact that it’s based on pertinent, unimpeachable facts.
Relying on science and scientific principles, how do we know then whether there is “overpopulation” problem in the Philippines (suppose “overpopulation” were really a problem)? First, let’s get the updated population in the country, which is 97,976,603 (July 2010 est.). What’s the total area of the Philippines? The answer is: 300,076 km2. What is the country’s density per square kilometers? The answer is: 307.344 per square kilometers.
What’s the country’s fertility rate for the year 2010? The answer is 3.27, and we’re ranked 62nd. The country’s fertility rate in 2008 was 3.32. This shows a change of -1.51 percent from 2008 to 2010. The country with the highest fertility rate is Niger with 7.75, followed by Mai (7.29), Uganda (6.77), Afghanistan (6.53), Somalia (6.52), and Burundi (6.33).
Total Fertility Rate (FTR) is defined by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Factbook as one which “is a more direct measure of the level of fertility than the crude birth rate, since it refers to births per woman. This indicator shows the potential for population change in the country.”
According to the CIA World Factbook: “A rate of two children per woman is considered the replacement rate for a population, resulting in relative stability in terms of total numbers. Rates above two children indicate populations growing in size and whose median age is declining. Higher rates may also indicate difficulties for families, in some situations, to feed and educate their children and for women to enter the labor force. Rates below two children indicate populations decreasing in size and growing older. Global fertility rates are in general decline and this trend is most pronounced in industrialized countries, especially Western Europe, where populations are projected to decline dramatically over the next 50 years.”
On the other hand, annual growth rate from 2000-2008 is 1.9 percent, while crude death rate in 2008 is 5 as against crude birth rate during the same year of 25. There is also considerable improvement in life expectancy. Life expectancy in 1970 is 57 years compared to 65 years in 1990. Now perhaps due to modern medical technologies and better quality of life, life expectancy in the country as of 2008 improved to 72 years.
According to a scientific study, the world will reach a milestone wherein half of the global population will be having only enough children to replace itself. What does this statement mean? It simply means that the fertility rate of half of the world will be 2.1 or below. Take note that the Philippine’s current fertility rate is 3.27. This figure—2.1— is described as the “replacement level of fertility”. Around 2.9 billion people out of a total global population of 6.5 billion were living in countries at or below this level in 2000-2005, according to the United Nations population division. The Philippines’ fertility rate in 2003 was 3.29, 3.16 in 2004 and 2005, 3.11 in 2006, and 3.05 in 2007. This means that we are 1.17 above the “replacement level of fertility” considering the fact that the country’s density per square miles is 307.344.
It was also reported that the global population will rise to 3.4 billion out of 7 billion in the early 2010s, which is today, to more than 50 percent in the middle of the next decade. The countries affected by this population “slow down” include not only Japan and Russia but also south India, China, Indonesia and even Brazil.
Here’s a report from The Economist:
“The move to replacement-level fertility is one of the most dramatic social changes in history. It manifested itself in the violent demonstrations by students against their clerical rulers in Iran this year. It almost certainly contributed to the rising numbers of middle-class voters who backed the incumbent governments of Indonesia and India. It shows up in rural Malaysia in richer, emptier villages surrounded by mechanized farms. And everywhere, it is changing traditional family life by enabling women to work and children to be educated. At a time when Malthusian alarms are ringing because of environmental pressures, falling fertility may even provide a measure of reassurance about global population trends.”
Global and domestic indicators show that the most touted and most abused word in this RH bill debate— “overpopulation”— is indeed a BIG myth. Scientific reports show that there is a foreseeable decline in global population in the next decades due to the fact that most countries are at or below the “replacement level of fertility” of 2.1. What then is the context of their “overpopulation” rhetoric? Is it local, global or both?
Now what do the free-farters regard as scientific? While they simply dismiss the most objective and facts-based arguments as “unscientific”, the free-farters as of this moment have not yet presented their “scientific” defense of the RH bill.
However, it can be fairly deduced from the free-farters’ badly written and poorly researched online articles and irrational arguments that the following points are what they pathetically regard as “scientific”:
- The government may redistribute wealth and tax the people in the name of public good and common good. But to justify this sophistry, they must first identify “who the public is.”
- Overpopulation is both a problem and a reality that can be solved by inflating the powers of the government so it can deliver the public good or common good.
- The government is justified to use force against certain sectors of our society (e.g. employers and health care providers) to deliver the public good to those in need (poor people and women).
- Welfare-statism and the politics of public good are scientific and pragmatic.
It is true that science plays a major role in this debate, and this science is called LOGIC. In the realm of man’s cognition, logic is an art of non-contrary identification. The use of logic helps us determine the contradictions and fallacies in our arguments and conclusions. To prove that “overpopulation” is a myth, we need to look at scientific data, information and indicators pertaining to population. To prove that that population-poverty link is highly fallacious, we need to understand the very root of poverty. Is poverty caused by the continued curtailment of individual freedom or the ability of man to procreate?
Observe that the top ten countries with the highest fertility rate are Niger, Uganda, Mali, Somalia, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola, Ethiopia, and Republic of Congo. What are the common characteristics of these countries? They are poor or third world countries. They have high population. They have extremely poor individual freedom and economic freedom (e.i lack of respect for property rights and intellectual property rights, poor justice system, and poor rule of law).
Now let’s see how the Heritage Foundation ranked these countries in terms of economic freedom. Niger was given the freedom score of 52.9 or mostly unfree; Uganda (62.2 or moderately free); Mali (55.6 or mostly unfree); Somalia (not ranked because of its chaotic domestic affairs); Burkina Faso (59.4 or mostly unfree); Democratic Republic of Congo (41.4 or repressed); Angola (48.4 or repressed); Ethiopia (51.2 or mostly unfree); and Republic of Congo (43.2 or repressed).
This simply exposes the fallacy behind Rep. Edcel Lagman’s (author of the RH bill) rhetoric: The RH bill “simply recognizes the verifiable link between a huge population and poverty.” Lagman simply failed to see and understand the full context of poverty. Poverty increases because individual freedom decreases. According to the Heritage Foundation, the Philippines was ranked 56.3 or mostly unfree due to state controls and regulations, corruption, and the continued repression of freedom in trade, business, fiscal, monetary, investment, etc.
The only social system that can save this country from worsening poverty is capitalism—and the only solution to overpopulation, which is not even a problem, is to reject the morality of altruism, the concept of statism, and embrace reason, individualism, and a philosophy for living on earth. This way, the Filipino can achieve a new renaissance for this country. In fact, the free-market system is the best form of birth or population control.
In his article debunking overpopulation myth and the evil influence of Thomas Malthus, Manfred Schieder wrote:
Capitalism involves, thus, an automatic system of birth control, a fact that the general population hasn’t considered yet but which adds a great deal to reduce the dangers involved in birth delivery for women. People who perceive a better future in their life are less interested in producing children as “sustenance security” for their old age and, besides, they are keen in providing their offsprings with a better education than they themselves ever had. Further on, less children free a female from the so-called “kitchen chores”. Now they can earn their own money, which increases the amount of money to be saved and so adds to life’s enjoyment. In addition they can now delight in their own body and sexual relations that are in themselves a tool of happiness and no longer the terror of unavoidable pregnancies that may mean their own deaths, quite separately from the possible death of the babies (all this beside the added security of the higher standards of hygiene and the increased amount of medicines invented). Wherever even traces of Capitalism are applied, a decrease of sexual practice as mere generators of more human beings and an increase of all kinds of sexual activity for personal satisfaction can be seen. The scholars of Capitalism already foresaw this fact, but it’s almost surprising that it appears on such an early implementation of some parts of the system, as we are facing nowadays. The only possible rational social system – Capitalism – solves, thus, the essential problems of both nature and the human being in a peaceful, self-respecting, productive way.