A Pope Against Progress

By Mark Lynas, Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger

In recent years, liberals and progressives have seen Pope Francis as a breath of fresh air — and with good reason. He has taken stronger action than his predecessors against child abuse by priests. He has toned down the church’s denunciations of homosexuality. And he has argued that the rich must do more for the poor.

It is thus understandable that so many on the left have praised the Pope’s new environmental encyclical Laudato Si. The document recognizes global warming as a serious concern, and calls for significant action.

Unfortunately, the Pope’s commitment to progress goes no further than that. While he takes care to celebrate science, reason and innovation, Laudato Si is at heart a book-length repudiation of just about everything progressives care about.

Rising Freedom vs. Sinful Fall

The story told by the Pope in the encyclical stands in striking contrast to the one told by 18 leading environmental scientists, scholars and activists, including ourselves, in “An Ecomodernist Manifesto,” released in April.

Where our manifesto argues that big environmental problems like climate change and species extinction are unintended consequences of prosperity — of people trying to improve their lives and the lives of their children — the Pope argues that they are the result of sin, specifically greed, and irresponsibility.

Indeed the Pope specifically rejects what he characterises as the “myth” of progress. Where ecomodernists believe solving environmental problems requires embracing modernization, the Pope looks askance at cities, birth control, and economic growth. The Pope rejects “a reduction in the birth rate” as “an attempt to legitimize the present model of distribution…”

It is not the sin of greed but rather aspirations to a better life that led countries from England to the US to China and India to burn huge quantities of coal. All sought to lift hundreds of millions of people out of poverty.

The Pope doesn’t see any progress. Instead it’s been one long fall from Eden. “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth,” he laments.

While the Pope bemoans the burning of coal, oil and gas he does so without recognizing that increasing energy consumption in developing countries is a precondition for poverty reduction. He seems to have no understanding of trade-offs — or the fact that pretty much all the projected future carbon emissions increases will come from the developing world.

Consider that while the coal boom creates global warming, it also frees people from burning wood — the toxic smoke of which killed four million people last year. And as Europe, the US and China have gotten richer, all have stepped up efforts to replace coal with solar, wind, natural gas and nuclear.

Progressive Ecomodernism

With abundant solar, nuclear and other clean energy technologies, climate change can be restrained to tolerable levels while allowing for major poverty-reducing increases in energy consumption. And with continuing agricultural innovation we will be able to double food production as needed to feed 9.5 billion people by 2050.

This is a progressive ecomodernist vision — unfortunately, none of it appeals to the Pope. The encyclical inveighs against technological innovation, economic efficiency and the market. This is not a world where the poor might benefit from new technologies, whether better seeds or cell phones, or international trade.

Nobody disputes that economic growth does not benefit everyone equally, or that it can lead to environmental deterioration, but growth is also essential to reducing poverty. Poverty is, at its simplest level, the under-consumption of resources, whether of food, water or other necessities for a dignified livelihood.

Meanwhile, economic globalization and international trade have been beneficial to reducing poverty. China, not North Korea, is the workshop of the world. China’s massive accumulations of wealth and emergence from poverty and structural famine have come about precisely because is has exported enormous quantities of goods to the supposedly sinful, over-consuming rich countries of the global North.

None of this is to embrace neoliberalism or laissez-faire. Development and environmental protection require strong governments to provide social safety nets, social goods like healthcare and education, sensible regulations, infrastructure and to support R&D.

With his explicit and repeated condemnations of the “technocratic paradigm” the Pope rejects the prospect of human technical innovation having the potential to do anything more than merely create ever-greater problems.

One popular idea among environmentalists is that, instead of economic growth, the wealthiest two billion should redistribute their wealth to the poor. Setting aside the practical reality that is highly unlikely to ever occur, economics is not a zero-sum game. Indeed, it is rapid economic growth and technological innovation in developing nations that is required to reduce carbon emissions to zero and eradicate extreme poverty.

Freedom from Misery

In Europe, this same Church fought against the Enlightenment, asserted the divine right of kings, battled to maintain feudalism and serfdom, resisted the rise of democracy and in recent decades opposed womens’ control over their fertility and the human right to sexual self-determination.

Laudato Si is very relevant to the emerging ecomodernist movement because it makes explicit the ascetisism, romanticism and reactionary paternalism inherent in many aspects of traditional environmentalist thinking. It also helpfully draws out the religiously-originated narratives that underpin a lot of green themes of sinfulness/redemption and end-times doomsaying on issues like climate change.

Ecomodernist values of progress, democracy and human rights and freedoms have little place in the Pope’s encyclical. In making his anti-modernist views so clear, and in identifying them so clearly with traditional green thinking, Pope Francis may have done us all a favour.

35 Comments

  1. Joanna Gillette

    The Pope sees it, as it is. Big Greedy Corporations peddling their wares, fogetting what it is doing to the environment and to the health of the people, all for the Mighty Dollar….End of Story!

    Reply
    1. Steve Crook

      Hardly. He complains about the impact humanity is having on the planet but opposes birth control.

      As Mark points out he’s also apparently unaware that development that provides power, clean water, education and healthcare saves lives and that we can do a lot in that regard without ruining everything.

      It’s also worth pointing out that as people do better economically, birth rates fall (contraception I presume). So perhaps the best thing would be to develop as fast and clean as we can and get the Pope to change his mind on birth control.

  2. Danny Heaver

    That is bullshit mate … I’m NOT a catholic, but he speaks the truth, & it’s not political, he is just as entitled to make comment as the next person. He is the head of a state, so why shouldn’t he air his views ?
    I think most of these people who are against coal etc, probably own shares that are affected by its demise !!
    Most of our politicians own a huge portfolio, lets see if they have any interest at all !!

    Reply
    1. Ariel Poliandri

      He is right about what? That we should regress to communism or better yet to the middle ages? That abortion is bad? That gender equality is an myth? That embryo research is wicked? Could you please be more specific?

    2. Scott

      Fundamentally his message is the same as Bill Mollison’s

      “I think science without ethics is sociopathology. To say, “I’ll apply what I know regardless of the outcome” is to take absolutely no responsibility for your actions. I don’t want to be associated with that sort of science.” Bill Mollison

      In this regard the Pope is spot on.

    3. Michele Kearney

      Scientists back Pope Francis on global warming

      Pontiff draws praise for adding moral and religious imperative to argument on dangers of climate change

      http://mitei.mit.edu/news/scientists-back-pope-francis-global-warming?utm_source=MIT+Energy+Initiative&utm_campaign=43cd7da7de-eNewsletter_Test10_16_2012&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_eb3c6d9c51-43cd7da7de-70117141

      I would also add that your publication High Energy Planet contradicts the thrust of your progressiveness. You guys came out on the wrong side of this and this will play right into the hands of those who do not subscribe to concepts of climate change.

    4. Michele Kearney

      ADB: Poor face greater climate risks
      Manila (UPI) Jun 24, 2015 – A report from the Asian Development Bank finds widening income gaps in the Asia-Pacific leaves the poor more exposed to the risks of climate change. Vinod Thomas, general director of an independent evaluation at the ADB, said wealth gaps in the region have secondary consequences. “Climate change hurts the poor disproportionally,” he said. “Environmental shocks push the poor into … morehttp://www.terradaily.com/reports/ADB_Poor_face_greater_climate_risks_999.html

  3. Mike Haseler (Scottish Sceptic)

    I’m sorry, after 18 years of the satellites showing no warming, with none of the human-adjusted records even showing the lowest predicted warming. With no adverse trends in severe weather … the pope couldn’t have chosen a worse time to jump on the failed global warming wagon – just when all the wheels have come off.

    Barring some miracle we sceptics have won and there’s nothing you or he can do to change that now for one simple reason: mother nature is a sceptic.

    Reply
    1. Scott

      Repeating lies does not make you a sceptic Mike. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that the empirical evidence supporting AGW is incredibly strong. Dig yet deeper still and you’ll find it isn’t caused by cheap energy so much as it is caused by industrial agriculture and deforestation. Although of course industrial agriculture isn’t possible without cheap energy.

      Ultimately more carbon is lacking in our agricultural soils than was ever burnt as coal oil and gas simply due to the so called “green revolution” of chemical fertilizers. It was an experiment that was doomed to failure before it even started. Short term increase in food production followed by long term world wide ecosystem failure. That’s what we are just beginning to see now with AGW. It’s just a symptom of gradually increasing ecosystem failure over approx 40-50% of the land surface.

      In this respect the Pope is spot on correct both scientifically and socially. The other effect of industrial agriculture was to drive countless millions farmers from the land and into poverty. The good stewards of the land driven into poverty while the rapist of the land increasingly take control. It is something that absolutely must change. There is no chance for it not to change. Either we change it with appropriate technology in agriculture, or we ride industrial ag to the bitter end and watch it collapse worldwide civilization. Choose.

    2. Hans Erren

      Agreed, I see proof for global warming, but only for beneficial global warming. Where are the corpses?

    3. Ariel Poliandri

      Scott>>> Given the chance you neo-commies would argue that the Soviet Union still exists and that people are doing great over there. It is unbelievable really. Where is the warming? Where is the worldwide ecosystem failure? and (If the green revolution failed) where are the masses of starving people your doom monger teachers predicted?

    4. Scott

      Ariel,
      Neo commies? Are you kidding? What gave you that ridiculous idea? Not only am I not a commie of any variety, In point of fact I am a farmer, which in USA means small businessman, (conservative in fact, like most farmers who refuse government subsidies) it has absolutely nothing to do with the robust science and empirical evidence that AGW is very real. Nor does it have the slightest thing to do Industrial agriculture destroying the soils worldwide.

      The real issue is whether capitalism will only support industrial giants or whether capitalism is the way forward for small businesses too? Maybe you are too beholden to your plutocrats and believe their false doctrine that the only alternative to their system is communism and socialism? In my opinion a plutocracy is nearly the same thing as communism. Which dictator do you wish to serve? As for me, I reject both. The “working class” should be working for themselves, not any government or plutocratic overlords. The best way to achieve that is with capitalism, but for small business, not the elites.

      When it comes to AGW though, denialism gets you nowhere. Since you seem to favor a plutocracy, consider this. There is no fundamental reason a plutocracy is forced to cause AGW or deny any of the rest of the harm they cause. So theoretically it is possible to keep the system you hold dear and stop AGW. But not by denial, that’s certain. Since you are in denial, a common symptom of those drunk with power, keep in mind, the pitchforks are coming.

  4. Kester

    Did you actually read Laudato Si?

    (I haven’t yet, it’s 148pp, but intend to.)

    You know the current RC definition of Sin which the Pope means when uses that word is: ‘a misuse of freedom’? (In RC teaching, ‘freedom’ is both negative and positive types, but most often referring to positive freedom (compatible with Isaiah Berlin’s sense.)

    You really don’t think there’s any callous selfish greed involved, any indifference to the suffering of other people because they’re foreign, outrageously extravagant wastefulness taken as ‘normal’ and as a personal necessity, and a fundamental attitude problem across all cultures of regarding individual consumer choices as paramount over relationships and responsibilities?

    Are you just stuck on the old world lexicon and assumed that the Catholic traditional lexicon means it’s really anti-progress or anti-ecomodernism?

    The last little paragraph is a perfect example of the genetic fallacy. Just because the Church *was* a product of its times 100s and 1000s of years ago does not necessarily mean it is *essentially* the same as it was then. It is again a product of its time, consisting of humans being our usual mixture of horror, glory and mediocrity, altho admittedly with considerable lag.

    Reply
  5. Tomas

    Sorry, but pope Francis is perfectly right, and your maneuvers to “save your baby” is lost with the failing capitalism.

    Reply
  6. John Russell

    OK, the Pope might have got most of the solutions wrong but then he sees the issue from the perspective of leader of a massive religious organisation. The important thing is that, as you say, he recognises the problem: a rise in green house gasses caused by human emissions. I think few people, even amongst his followers, would actually look to him for the practical answers.

    I also think that your faith in technology to provide the complete solution is misguided. The belief, for instance, that more technological development in agriculture will carry on producing the increase in output we’ve seen over that last 60 years. This increase in output has been largely the result of fossil fuelled tractors and fertilisers and from bringing more and more land into production. But without properly sustainable farming methods the soil is being, literally, ‘used up’ and the point is fast approaching when output will go down. And technology struggles when we run out of water as a result of climate change.

    The solution is complex and needs to be worked out by global agreement, but it will be a mixture of technology and a sensible return to natural and sustainable practices.The most productive agriculture, for instance, is a small scale mixture of complementary plants and animals; where the grower is as concerned as much for the long-term productivity of his soil as he is for this year’s yield. The solution lies in recognising that quality, not quantity, is what satisfies the human soul. And an end to short-term thinking.

    Reply
  7. Len Rosen

    There are many things in this latest papal encyclical that get the facts right. The pope backs science in its coverage of climate change, pollution, freshwater scarcity, and loss of biodiversity. But the pope goes further drawing in global inequality, quality of life and weak-willed governments in his observations of what is wrong and has to be made right. In reading the 184-page letter to Catholics he gets a number of things wrong. His discussion on GMO is a reflection of his own conflicted thoughts. But what he is calling for “enforceable international agreements, transparent political processes, no concealment of actual environmental impact, from business and government, are responsible messages to deliver.

    You may object to his rant about “technoscience” but it is hard to argue that he is wrong when he states “neglecting to monitor the harm done to nature and the environmental impact of our decisions is only the most striking sing of a disregard for the message contained in the structures of nature itself.” How can anyone call it wrong-headed when the pope calls for “ecological spirituality” as a governing force to “protect the world and not prey on it.”

    Reply
  8. amanda stone

    Great article – absolutely bang on. Am sharing to FB where I will probably have to argue the toss!

    Reply
  9. Hans Erren

    Apparently the anti-capitalists haven’t visited Poland recently.

    Reply
  10. Michele Kearney

    You write:

    Unfortunately, the Pope’s commitment to progress goes no further than that. While he takes care to celebrate science, reason and innovation, Laudato Si is at heart a book-length repudiation of just about everything progressives care about.
    – See more at: http://www.marklynas.org/2015/06/a-pope-against-progress/#sthash.L9jUrwvK.dpuf

    One can be an environmentalist and not be a progressive. You totally misunderstand biblical history and where the Pope is coming from. Your advocacy of population control, a concept that was rejected in the 1970s, is
    elitist and racist. And if your concepts of ecomodernism rest explicitly on population control, then I reject your concepts and theories.

    MIT announced last the week that the science underpinning the Pope’s thesis is correct and a welcome assistance to the discussion on climate change.

    Reply
  11. Ariel Poliandri

    The encyclical stance on abortion, gender equality, embryo research, etc, certainly cannot please liberals. Let me tell you more: its crude Nature worshiping is uncomfortable –to say the least- for any Catholic moderately aware of the first commandment.

    Reply
  12. Jim

    I strongly suspect that you haven’t read what the Pope wrote.

    ‘Ascetisism, romanticism and reactionary paternalism?’ This is just lazy name-calling, as so many of your blog posts are. You seem far more interested in dividing people up into opposing categories – ‘reactionaries’ v ‘progressives’, ‘modernists’ v ‘romantics’ – than in doing the hard and intelligent work of digging into the nuances of what is actually happening in the world.

    if your aim is to play politics, well done – you do it well. If your aim is to find the truth and improve things in the world – try less abuse and more thinking.

    The advance of technology is a hugely complex issue. Many of its opponents raise serious concerns. Even many of its proponents, such as Kevin Kelly, Bill Joy or Bill Gates – experts, unlike yourself, not only in what ‘technology’ does but in its momentum and intenal logic – would agree with Francis when he writes:

    “The idea of promoting a different cultural paradigm and employing technology as a mere instrument is nowadays inconceivable. The technological paradigm has become so dominant that it would be difficult to do without its resources and even more difficult to utilize them without being dominated by their internal logic.”

    Setting up nasty ‘reactionaries’ who hate ‘progress’ against compassionate ‘progressives’ who want to help ‘the poor’ is just childish. It doesn’t advance the debate. It doesn’t even help your cause. It ignores all the discussions about what ‘progress’ actually means, and all of the forces around the world, within and without, which drive change. To set up ‘modernity’ and ‘enlightenment’ as monolithic things is equally meaningless. I wonder: do you really believe in these categories, or are they just useful tools for you to advance your agenda?

    You may be involved in a personal crusade against everything you once believed, as may the other ‘ecomodernists’ you quote here, but like all crusades it is proving ultimately simplistic and destructive. Think harder.

    Reply
  13. Michele Kearney

    Pope Francis Highlights the Moral Imperative of Climate Action

    Posted: 18 Jun 2015 06:00 AM PDT

    Pope Francis brings a clear and powerful moral voice to a climate change debate too often clouded by competing ideologies. He reminds us of our responsibilities to the planet and to one another, and makes plain the stakes and the urgency of stronger action.read morehttp://www.theenergycollective.com/seidel/2241276/pope-francis-highlights-moral-imperative-climate-action?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Energy+Collective+%28all+posts%29

    Reply
  14. Michele Kearney

    The Poor Need Affordable Energy
    Reducing energy poverty means reducing energy costs

    http://fee.org/freeman/detail/the-poor-need-affordable-energy

    Reply
  15. Michele Kearney

    You might be well served viewing this video:
    Fr. Barron on Pope Francis’ Encyclical “Laudato Si”
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWEK8JXQo0M

    to get a better understanding of the biblical underpinnnings.

    Reply
  16. H.U.S.

    It’s not an easy task for many Catholics to digest the words of this Pope who is quite different in his views from the dogmatic, narrow minded ultraorthodoxe predecessor Benedikt.
    For me as a Lutheran it’s much easier and very rewarding to read (and I agree it’s important to read more than one article about him) the ideas Francis is now putting into the light of a church, that is in dire need to modernize after years of the regressive minded Pope from Germany.
    Do I share all of Francis views ? hardly – but to get so ignorant, like the many conservatives posters here on the blog, to call him a communist, really is just a sign of intellectual indecency.
    The use of religion to justify greed and egoism, was never a Christian value in any church … until the evangelical Megachurches in the US popped up and invented the mantra ‘ God wants you to be rich’ – an obscene perversion of religious values in order to capture a broader bigger and better paying audience.
    This Pope is doing the right thing: asking why it is, that so many in the world find greed to be a human vice…

    Reply
    1. Ariel Poliandri

      The Church is not a temporal institution. It does not need reform today as it didn’t need it 500 years ago. There has always been the spirit of communism, even before Marx (a son of the protestant reform’s fatherland), and the Catholic Church has always resisted it.
      Bergoglio is wrong and he can only lead the church into an insignificant secular institution (albeit all the money) like all the white protestant churches which have become little more than clubs for socialists with a tint
      of Nature worshipers.

  17. R. Rands

    Not all the experts agree with you, Mr Lynas.

    By the way, how far beyond journalism does your expertise extend?

    Of course with advisors like Ted and Mike, you can expect to hammer home the point with authority, I suppose.

    But – wait a minute. Isn’t there some implicit acceptance of the Roman Catholic Church’s acceptance of population increase in this paragraph about “Progressive Ecomodernism”?

    “With abundant solar, nuclear and other clean energy technologies, climate change can be restrained to tolerable levels while allowing for major poverty-reducing increases in energy consumption. And with continuing agricultural innovation we will be able to double food production as needed to feed 9.5 billion people by 2050.”

    What is “Progressive Ecomodernism then? It looks to me more like a sales slogan than a plan to avoid an unsustainable ecological footprint on your local habitable planet.

    Your sounding to me a bit like a profit-crazed technocrat, but hey, I’m no expert.

    See also:
    http://news.sciencemag.org/climate/2015/06/will-pope-francis-s-climate-message-break-through-where-others-have-failed?utm_campaign=email-news-latest&utm_src=email

    Reply
  18. Joris van Dorp

    Despite being implored by Japanese Bishops to denounce nuclear power in his encyclical, the Pope did no such thing. That is quite remarkable. It would have cost him nothing to slam nuclear power. Not slamming nuclear arguably implies that the Pope is *not* against progress and *not* against technological development, nor expanded energy consumption or any of that.

    Pity the authors of this article didn’t seem to notice this?

    Reply
  19. Ciaran F

    Interesting how bad a reception your article is getting from commenters here, Mark, even those of very different persausions from each other. Perhaps this might give you and the Breakthrough people cause for a rethink? You have made a mess of this.

    The job of the head of the Catholic church is not to tell ‘liberals and progressives’ what they want to hear. it is to lead Catholics, of whom there are 1.2 billion in the world. Your brand of rationalist scientism is not going to persaude them not to be Catholics, so you have two choices, as I see it. You can either sneer at the Pope for not buying into your brand of American techno-progress. Or you can engage with him. Today, for the first time in decades, you have a Pope that you – that we – can engage with. To have a Catholic leader issuing such a radical document as Francis did this week, calling for those 1.2 billion people to ‘care for the Earth’ is astonishing progress.

    You – if you care for the world as you claim to do – should welcome this, embrace it, work with it. But do you care? What is your agenda? Protecting nature, as you claim – or pushing your brand of politics and economics in the name of ‘progress’?

    Reply
    1. Michele Kearney

      Clearly, Pope Francis’ priorities have nothing directly to do with the energy business. But it is interesting to see him take note of renewable energy sources and to not dismiss nuclear energy as a non-starter. The encyclical is extremely well considered and worth attention by anyone interested in the subject. The Pope has the ability to shape attitudes broadly, so one must consider the encyclical an exceptionally compelling document, whatever one may feel about its details.

      While there were many mentions about renewable energy resources in Laudato Si’, he does also say things about nuclear energy technology.
      “It must also be recognized that nuclear energy, biotechnology, information technology, knowledge of our DNA, and many other abilities which we have acquired, have given us tremendous power,” wrote Pope Francis.
      See On the Papal Encyclical & Nuclear Energy
      http://neinuclearnotes.blogspot.com/2015/06/on-papal-encyclical-nuclear-energy.html

    2. Kester

      Thanks, Ciaran. I broadly agree, but also-

      The Pope’s letter isn’t just addressed to Catholics, actually, it’s addressed to “all people of goodwill”.

      I usually like and agree with most of what Mark says, but this time I’m a little baffled by his rather uncharacteristically immoderate reaction.

      I don’t think there really has to be as big a conflict between Eco-modernism and the Pope’s extension of Catholic Social Teaching to more explicitly include environmental justice too.

      The main reason the Pope is getting involved is because AGW is a Social Justice issue (economic social justice, not identity politics ‘Social Justice’). The rich minority countries and a highly aggregated distribution of the rich within those countries are disproportionately responsible for causing global climate change, but those who will be most severely affected and least economically positively free to mitigate the harms caused by climate change are the poor majority. Also it’s a matter of justice to future generations, and of course non-human moral objects.

      Essentially the difference between the Pope’s version of environmental and social justice is that it focusses on relationship and responsibility, rather than on identity and conflict. Like CST synthesises the good concerns of Marxism with genuine Christian teaching on Human Dignity and response to the person as the basis for ethics, not ‘historical dialectical materialism’ or ‘class war’, in the same sort of way Laudato Si is trying to point out that the root of the problem and therefore the point to resolve it at is the lack of understanding and choice of a loving relationship with other people based on respect for humanity and accepting a unique human responsibility, because we are the most powerful species, to care for the rest of the world.

      The Pope would probably quite happily reconsider his view about GMOs if presented with the facts in an impartial tone. Of course I think he’s wrong about assuming associations between breeding techniques and environmental and social ethical outcomes, but he’s open to facts and reason, especially if approached in a sincere and positive way.

      Consider the time he called transgender people “destroying the natural order of Creation” and “like a nuclear bomb”, and then invited twenty trans* human rights activists to dinner to apologise and listen to them.

      He’s 74 and comes from a very conservative background, it’s hardly surprising if he sometimes says things like most of our embarrassing grandparents do occasionally. He does at least really listen and respond like a fully human being when he realises he’s made a mistake.

      Papal infallibility is actually extremely specific and narrowly defined – it is *only* when a pope “declares and defines” a *doctrine* (not a moral teaching) that is already held by the whole Church, and consistent with sacred scripture and the sense of the faith in the whole Church. (Infallibility is still hugely controversial *within* the Catholic Church, basically a Vatican Council 1 partisans versus Vatican Council 2 partisans ongoing battle of the books.) When JP II tried to declare ‘artificial’ contraception sinful, most of the Catholic laity and clergy politely ignored him and carried on anyway. *Preventative* contraception usage rates are nearly the same in Catholic populations as in general population. Abortion rates are probably lower, but even that most Catholics are not as black and white about it as the official hierarchy. The legal notion that before parturition a foetus is absolutely not a person and after parturition it suddenly magically absolutely is a person is obviously arbitrary and a little bit absurd, but so too is the extreme opposite position that even a first trimester foetus is fully a human person ‘in natural law’ (I believe in natural law in principle, btw, but this is a silly interpretation of it) while it’s hardly differentiated and has no thalamo-cortex to support consciousness yet. Both are extreme and a bit arbitrary. Official RC teaching does not say that every sort of military operation in all circumstances is absolutely wrong, so there is clearly scope for some nuances in other areas of interpretation of Humanae Dignitatis, and in practice most Catholics other than the official hierarchs do interpret canon law with more compassion than strictness.

    3. Michele Kearney

      Bill Black: A Harvard Don is Enraged that Pope Francis is “Opposed to the World Economic Order”

      Posted: 23 Jun 2015 12:56 AM PDT

      An economics professor rails against Pope Francis for daring to point out that we don’t live in the best of all possible worlds.http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2015/06/bill-black-a-harvard-don-is-enraged-that-pope-francis-is-opposed-to-the-world-economic-order.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+NakedCapitalism+%28naked+capitalism%29

  20. Diana Broadhead (@DianaBroadhead)

    The first comments we received after writing a book on climate change called Extinction: The Climatic Time Bomb and recommending new generation nuclear energy we then concluded that overpopulation is the cause of the Planet’s dilemma. A Catholic neighbour sent this feedback which he received from his Church. -The world Future A realistic look at Islamic domination. Think and act as to what we can do about it. http://www.youtube.com/embed/6-3X5hIFXYU

    Reply
  21. Lennox Savage

    I am just reading Six Degrees by Mark Lynas and am rather surprised by the tenor of this article. Has he read Naomi Kleins’ “This Changes Everything”? It is suggested in this article “With continuing agricultural innovation we will be able to double food production as needed to feed 9.5 billion people by 2050”. By which clearly it means I presume by continuing with the massively damaging industrialised agriculture that the world has largely adopted. This seems surprising since Lynas himself talks in “Six Degrees” of the instability of the North America’s breadbasket region and how it is resting on what are essentially at present stabilised sand dunes which if mis-managed will simply blow away and return to desert.

    I was born in 1956, twenty years before Lynas and I remember reading “A Blueprint for Survival” when I was 15. I find that more recent “environmentalists” seem to like to put down those people who always realised that the environment was something that we should cherish and talk of bearded hippies (which either ignores the women or implies they also have facial hair!).

    I am disappointed in the slant of this article as I am impressed reading Lynas’ book and would forgive the odd bearded hippy comment for the overall excellence of the script but I get the impression he has possibly been taken over and influenced by those who believe the only future is by co-operating with big business. Didn’t Lynas talk also of a belief in technological fixes being a form of denial yet this is apparently what he is now advocating.

    Reply
  22. Diana Broadhead

    This a segment from Geoff Sleeman’s book “Population depletion.
    Any form of population reduction runs against the ethos of most civilizations and nations and in particular the established religions of the world. Reduction will only be considered if a convincing explanation of its necessity in the face of the alternative is widely known and accepted. To establish this acceptance is the largest and most formidable task facing humankind. The most affected group in all civilizations are women as the ultimate burden rests with them. There will be tremendous opposition from religions and most other male dominated groups.

    One vital step in any humane method of population depletion is to overcome the entrenched desire of powerful groups that are forever urging increased population expansion; their unwritten reasons vary, some could be for larger markets; others to man wars or it may be to give power in numbers to religions. It is essential for womankind of all nations to be educated to the dangers of over population and to give them the methods of contraception. The objection to any form of this from male dominated groups will be huge, well financed and organized.”

    I think 1 answer to refugees trying 4 citizenship in any country now is to require men who already have 2 children should have a vasectomy.- I am finding women in my own circle are vocal when they recognize the threat of Muslim dominance made clear in the youtube that I included in my reply 9th July. I now learn that the Russian army will have reached 50% Muslim in four and half years.

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