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Re: [bostonatheists] "No real rational basis to opposing benefits of family planning..."

From: kenneth a. t.
Sent on: Thursday, August 15, 2013 2:14 PM
Hello David how are you?
My references to power, comes from Manuel Castells definition of power in his book, " Communication Power", And is not abstract.
Best regards, Ken.

From: David M <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, August 15,[masked]:04 AM
Subject: Re: [bostonatheists] "No real rational basis to opposing benefits of family planning..."

It seems to me that talking in abstract terms such as 'empowering women' and 'disempowering black men' can make a mess of things. If we check the research, we find that many women often want to use birth control in their relationship, but feel coerced to not use it. There is a serious imbalance in power in such relationships. This is a significant contributor to the spread of STDs and to unintended pregnancies. Asymmetric power relationships occur among all demographics, though there are demographics that have a disproportionately high occurrence of such asymmetries. 

Empowering women is not focused on making them more powerful then men. It is focused on making sure they aren't doormats. Getting women the right to vote necessarily decreased the power of men since the vote of each man now had half as much influence in determining public office holders, but it would be misguided to view this as an move to dis-empower men. The motive here was equal rights, not oppression. Sadly, some men will react negatively to giving the women the right to vote or to other methods of decreasing institutionalized inequity. In fact, an immediate side effect of introducing equal opportunity for women is to decrease the opportunity of men since there will be twice as much competition for the opportunities available.

Society wide, we are seeing women overtake men in terms of education and employability despite the still-existing social and institutionalized barriers to the success of women. It will be interesting to see how equal opportunity plays out over time.

Dave

On Aug 15, 2013, at 10:29 AM, "kenneth a. thomas" <[address removed]> wrote:

Hello Paul how are you?
I agree that there is a considerable amount of very determined and persistent magical thinking, that contributes to problems of scarcity, educational thoroughness, and scientific skill. And to a large extent that magical thinking exists among black peoples. However, I believe that an amount of that magical thinking may correlate closely to the trauma of being victimized by severe and persistent racist violence.
Paul what affect/effect does empowering women have on men? Especially when the men are Black American males that have been severely traumatized by an racist experience in the USA. And considered to be the major threat to White supremacist dominance. And the women are being empowered for the purpose of dis-empowering a large percentage of those Black males.
Paul do you know of Frances Cress Wellsing, the psychiatrist who wrote " The ISIS Papers".
It is my observation that many of the women that you may be referring to as having been empowered. Have been empowered to promote White supremacist racist views aimed primarily at dis-empowered Black males. And that much of that dis-empowering of Black males is being done by the Black mothers of those males, in a very complex power struggle.
And I agree that human brains may not prevent humans from becoming extinct. However, it seems wise to use those human brains, and other functional portions of the human body, to make the best use of the scientific methods available to us, to nurture our thriving.
It's interesting to me that you make the Chinese one child policy more coercive, murderous, and terrifying than racist America's eugenics cleansing. However, I'm glad that you bring that up for consideration, and comparison.
I believe that if you examine the evidence, locally, and globally, you will find overwhelming counterfactuals, to compel the opposite belief. In the USA the numbers of Black males incarcerated, unemployed, underemployed, adverse to the things being taught in the schools, and thus their supposed lack of education. Compared to observations of Chinese peoples in those categories, suggest other than you suggest.  And similar evidence is suggested when comparing the Chinese in China, to Blacks in Africa. Especially when considering the exploitation of African resources by the Chinese. Like the way the Chinese exploit the fish near African coasts, and there are other, similar examples.
To be continued.
Best regards, Ken.

From: Paul G. Brown <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, August 14,[masked]:52 PM
Subject: Re: [bostonatheists] "No real rational basis to opposing benefits of family planning..."


 Kenneth - 


On Aug 14, 2013, at 1:54 PM, "kenneth a. thomas" <[address removed]> wrote:
I'm of the opinion that over consumption, and racism are the primary problems. And both are very prominent features of the USA.
With regards to the opening quote about, the fewer the people the simpler the problem. For those who believe that, eliminating themselves, seems the their first, and primary option. And any other option would tend to be coercive, violent and murderous.

  I agree with you whole-heartedly about that over-consumption and racism are prominent features of the US today. 

  But about your second point … I am not so sure. 

  Your position seems to be that the problem of scarcity is largely a question of distribution. The 21st Century US is an incredible time and place in which to live. We have the means currently to meet everyone's needs. Yet instead we have collectively chosen a way of life that leads to the persistence of poverty and yields evidence of lack and need everywhere we look. 

  I absolutely agree with you that one of the causes of this unequal distribution of economic riches is structural racism, to which I would add a salting of "magical thinking" on the part of many Americans. Religion inclines believers to fatalism. There's no reason to believe an individual's will or desires matter much when everything is, after all, merely the plan of some pan-galactic-bearded-(white)-dude-in-the-sky. And I also agree that there are places where we all might improve our lives by consuming less. Even … *cue the woo sound-track* … thinking about something other than the material things by which so many of us define our lives. 

   BUT … I detect a whiff of "false dichotomy" in the places you choose to go after that. I think over-population is a major contributor to long current poverty, because caring for and educating kids is an enormous social and economic burden, and societies with exploding youth populations can't allocate the necessary resources. Fewer kids in a society means that the society as a whole can invest more in each of them.

   I'd also take issue with your characterization of effective population control strategies as tending to be "coercive, violent and murderous". To the contrary, recent history suggest that the most effective route to population control is … empowering women. Simply give them information, access to birth control, and a justice system that lets them escape 'coercive, violent and murderous' situations … 

   I don't see an either/or here. We can *both* address social and economic injustice *and* pursue non-coercive approaches to population control. 

    But that's all mechanics. So far, I've been silent on the question of why population control is a good, even necessary thing. And my justification here is, as best I can tell you, founded in the notion that we are just another species of mammal. Nothing special, biologically. Our evolutionary "trick" has been to invest vast amounts of energy into a "sense-making" organ. Crabs got claws, beetles and turtles got armor, bacteria got incredibly fast mitosis. Ya do what ya' gotta do t' make a living. 

  I don't see why having brains will prevent us from going the same way as 99% of all species who have ever existed. Or even if we don't disappear, it's a long way down from 7 billion to 1 billion. If you ever want to see something even more terrifying than the awful coercion of China's "one child" policy, more violent than the treatment of the "feeble minded" and otherwise "defective" and "sub-human" by eugenicists in the C20th, or more murderous than white America's "cleansing" of the land, go look ,some-time, at what nature does to a species that has exceeded the limits of its carrying capacity. 

   Paul 






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