U.S. birth rate hits record low, despite secular left’s obsession with “overpopulation”

Total fertility rates have decreased globally by about half since 1960.
Total fertility rates have decreased globally by about half since 1960.

I had lunch with one of my co-workers on the secular left recently. I asked him what his biggest concern with the world. After telling me that he was a “libertarian”, he said that he was alarmed that people were having too many babies. I asked him what he wanted to do about it. He said keep abortion legal, and use the government to stop people from reproducing. Some libertarian!

Anyway, he was just factually wrong about the overpopulation, and I had to launch into a long, detailed explanation of replacement rates, birth rates across the world, and how the prosperity created by capitalism has caused birth rates to decline in even poorer countries. I also explained to him that once a country dips below the replacement fertility rate (2.1 births per woman), it never returns. I concluded my refutation of his assertion by stating that he should be more worried about underpopulation than overpopulation.

Anyway, I had to repeat the same explanation again with another secular leftist that same week. So when I saw this recent Daily Caller article about a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control, I figured I might as well equip you guys to respond to other people with the same wrong view.

It says:

The United States birth rate hit a record low in 2018 with numbers reflecting the lowest birthrates in the past 30 years, reports say.

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveals that almost every age group of women under 35 showed birth rate declines in 2018. The provisional number of births in the U.S. in 2018 was 3,788,235, down 2% since 2017. For every 1,000 women, the fertility rate declined 2% from 2017 to 1,728.0 births.

Birth rates had reached a record low in 2017 as well, marking a continuing trend of declining birth rates over the past four years, according to CNN.

[…]These 2018 birth rate numbers are below the necessary threshold needed for population replacement, which is 2,100 births per 1,000 women, CNN reports.

So we’re down to 1.73 births in the USA, which is below the 2.1 rate needed to maintain current population levels.

This new report isn’t an outlier. It confirms what we knew about from previous reports.

Here’s an earlier report from the far-left Pew Research Center, reported by the radically-leftist Slate, of all places.

Excerpt:

A report issued last month by the Pew Research Center found that immigrant births fell from 102 per 1,000 women in 2007 to 87.8 per 1,000 in 2012. That helped bring the overall U.S. birthrate to a mere 64 per 1,000 women—not enough to sustain our current population.

Moreover, the poor, highly fertile countries that once churned out immigrants by the boatload are now experiencing birthrate declines of their own. From 1960 to 2009, Mexico’s fertility rate tumbled from 7.3 live births per woman to 2.4, India’s dropped from six to 2.5, and Brazil’s fell from 6.15 to 1.9. Even in sub-Saharan Africa, where the average birthrate remains a relatively blistering 4.66, fertility is projected to fall below replacement level by the 2070s. This change in developing countries will affect not only the U.S. population, of course, but eventually the world’s.

Now I have a couple tools for you to share to those people who might have irrational views of this issue.

Useful videos

This video explains what’s wrong with overpopulation fears:

And this one explains what the replacement rate number is:

You can share those for people who don’t have time to read. It at least makes the point, even if it doesn’t link to a reputable report.

A useful podcast

This podcast featuring famous economist Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse will be useful for you to understand why the overpopulation myth is something you should be concerned about.

The MP3 file is here. (from 1/22/2010)

Topics:

  • how the transition from country to city discourages child-bearing
  • how religion impacts how many children parents have
  • what is the US birth rate, is it high enough?
  • can we just import immigrants to alleviate the low birth rate?
  • has increased prosperity encouraged people to have more children?
  • how has the purpose of sex changed after the sexual revolution?
  • how does the demographic crisis threaten entitlement programs?
  • what do we learn from the declining birth rate in Japan?
  • how does population growth impact stock market performance?

This podcast explains how some countries aren’t making enough young workers to pay for the social programs needed by a growing number of elderly people wanting to retire.

Please share the post if you found it useful.

The production of carbon from lighter elements is fine-tuned to an amazing degree

Fine-tuning of the strong nuclear force and the fine structure constant
Fine-tuning of the strong nuclear force and the fine structure constant

If there is one thing that science fiction is good for, it’s for popularizing the phrase “carbon-based life”. Everyone has heard that carbon is essential for life. But do you know why carbon is so important? And did you know that the reaction that produced the carbon in our universe is actually fine-tuned, and therefore evidence for a Creator and Designer of the universe?

Hugh Ross has a new article up in Salvo magazine, which I found thanks to a post at Uncommon Descent.

Now he starts off with a discussion of how the mass density of the universe needed to be fine-tuned in order to produce elements heavier than hydrogen from the (only) hydrogen that was present at the creation event. I’ve talked about that reaction previously, but I won’t repeat that here. Nucleosynthesis is one of the most important chemical reactions in science, and something every Christian should know and understand well enough to explain it.

You can’t make complex embodied intelligent creatures such as ourselves out of only hydrogen and helium, but you can’t make a life permitting universe without some hydrogen and helium. For one thing, you can’t have liquid water without some hydrogen.

But the element carbon is the center hub of all of the molecules inside of us that allow for the storage and processing of information necessary for life.  And it turns out that the reaction that creates carbon from elements lighter than carbon is fine-tuned to an amazing degree.

Excerpt:

But cosmic mass density is not the only thing that must have been exquisitely fine-tuned for the universe to contain any carbon. The nuclear resonance (or energy) levels for helium, beryllium, carbon, and oxygen also had to be exquisitely fine-tuned for carbon to exist. Here’s how that happens.

Stars fuse carbon and oxygen from helium through a series of reactions known as the triple-alpha process, in which three helium nuclei are combined to make one carbon nucleus. In the first step in this process, two helium nuclei (with 2 protons each) fuse together to make beryllium (which has 4 protons). Next, a helium nucleus fuses with a beryllium nucleus to make carbon (which has 6 protons). Then, some carbon nuclei fuse with helium nuclei to make oxygen (which has 8 protons).

The only reason that the triple-alpha process produces any carbon or oxygen at all is because in the first step, the ground state energy level (i.e., the state of an atom when all of its electrons are at their lowest energy levels) of the beryllium-8 nucleus (containing 4 protons and 4 neutrons) almost exactly equals the ground state energy level of two helium-4 nuclei (2 protons and 2 neutrons each). In the second step, the ground state energy level of a beryllium-8 nucleus plus a helium-4 nucleus almost exactly equals the energy level of an excited state of a carbon-12 nucleus (6 protons and 6 neutrons). In the third step, the ground state energy level of a carbon-12 nucleus at 7.65 million electron volts is just slightly larger than the ground state energy level of an oxygen-16 nucleus (8 protons and 8 neutrons) at 7.12 million electron volts.1

If it were not for the near equivalences or resonances of the nuclear energy levels of two helium nuclei relative to a beryllium nucleus, and of a beryllium nucleus plus a helium nucleus relative to a carbon nucleus, the universe would contain very little or no carbon and very little or no elements heavier than carbon. Life would be impossible.

Furthermore, unless the difference in the nuclear energy levels between a carbon nucleus and an oxygen nucleus were precisely 0.53 million electron volts, the universe would contain either a lot of carbon and no oxygen or a lot of oxygen and no carbon. Either way, physical life would be impossible in the universe.

In the early 1950s, astronomer Fred Hoyle and physicist Willy Fowler were the first to understand how critical the relative nuclear energy levels of helium, beryllium, carbon, and oxygen were for making life possible in the universe. Commenting on the highly fine-tuned nature of these nuclear energy levels, Hoyle wrote in an article he published in Engineering & Science,

A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with the physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion beyond question.2

The article continues to explain that there is an additional problem of carbon fine-tuning related to habitability.

The carbon formation problem is one of the best examples of fine-tuning, and as you can see, it’s even admitted by atheists. It’s not the easiest one to explain (because resonance levels are not familiar in every day life), but it’s worth knowing about all three of the fine-tuning topics in the post.

Keep in mind that the more science has made progress, the more fine-tuning problems we have discovered. The trend is very bad if you are a naturalist. But very good if you are a theist. Evidence matters, and scientific evidence is the best kind of evidence.

How will men adapt to violence against men and false accusations?

A massive decline in marriage rate
A massive decline in marriage rate (per 1,000 of population in America)

A couple of women who write for the Daily Wire keep posting scary stories of men being mistreated by women. I’m going to link to a few of their stories below, from last week. Then I want to say something about why these sorts of events are happening so frequently, and what message it sends to men who might want to have a committed relationship with a woman.

The two women writers at Daily Wire are Amanda Prestigiacamo and Ashe Schow.

Here is one from May 8th, by Amanda:

Thirty-six-year-old Kenan Basic spent weeks in jail, lost his relationship, and was repeatedly slandered after a woman falsely accused him of sexual misconduct.

According to Australia-based 7NEWS, Basic was accused of “indecently assaulting and stalking” Caitlyn Gray, a 19-year-old woman, after he stopped to help her when her car broke down late last year.

Basic apparently spent two hours fixing Gray’s vehicle. As shown by surveillance footage, the smiling pair seem happy, hugging after the car is fixed and eventually parting ways. But according to the news station, “Gray told police Basic had allegedly propositioned her for sex in return for his help before he pursued her in the car and later indecently assaulted her at a different location.” Authorities investigating the incident called Basic’s behavior “predatory.”

Months later, however, the truth about the incident finally came out: Basic never assaulted the woman. The 19-year-old confessed to police during an interrogation that she fabricated evidence and made up the assault whole-cloth.

So what lesson would a man learn from this? Well, he would learn that women can’t be trusted to be grateful when they are given help.

More:

The falsely accused man noted that he’s “never been jailed, never had a criminal record or anything.”

“I always help people, all my life,” he said. “And this was the first time a snake bit me.”

The 36-year-old said he’ll “probably never help again, ya know. I don’t want that to happen again.”

I don’t know why this woman made this false accusation. Studies show that women generally make false accusations for attention, for an alibi, to get revenge, or to get sympathy after they’ve chosen to have sex with someone who ignored them after. This case doesn’t fit any of these scenarios. Maybe she felt slighted because he didn’t try anything with her, and that made her feel unattractive. But the message to good men who want to help women is clear: the risk is too great.

Here’s another story from May 11th, by Ashe:

Ah to be one of those poor, oppressed women who have fewer privileges than men.

A woman like Jazzmin Fry, who was so oppressed that when she stabbed a complete stranger — a man — with one of her stilettos for literally no reason, she only had to pay a $250 fine as punishment. Her conviction wasn’t even recorded outside of the press.

[…]The victim, Kyle Johns, 19, was taken to the hospital and needed two staples in his head to repair the wound.

What lesson will men learn from stories like this one? Well, they’ll learn that there is a double standard in the justice system, such that men are held accountable for their choices, but women are not. That’s because men are seen as responsible for their actions, and women are not seen as responsible – no matter how much harm they cause.

Ashe says:

Women in the justice system — whether in Australia, or the U.K., or the U.S. — get off much easier than men for the same crimes. One of the biggest disparities can be found in sexual assaults against minors. When women commit these crimes — whether against a young boy or girl, or teenager — they receive much lighter sentences than men do for the same crime.

As I have written previously, men who abuse children (rightly) receive harsh punishments. A 32-year-old man who sexually abused a young girl over the course of several years faced 366 years to life in prison. Yet a 25-year-old woman who pleaded guilty to raping young boys at a trailer park only received five years probation.

[…]In 2012, University of Michigan professor Sonja Starr researched the gender disparities in federal criminal cases and found that “men receive 63% longer sentences on average than women do” and that “Women are … twice as likely to avoid incarceration if convicted.”

Men are very aware of disparities in the criminal justice system, but when I talk to women about it, they are rarely aware of it. But this is just one example of an area where men are at a disadvantage, and the problem only gets worse as more and more feminists take control of legislation, law enforcement and criminal courts. Almost every man knows a story of about how divorce courts treated a man badly, whether it be with unfair alimony or child support, false accusations, or even jail. And it seems like all the momentum in society is to make everything better for women, and worse for men. This is easily seen by looking at studies of how the public schools – which are dominated by  female teachers and administrators – discriminate against boys.

Here’s a third one from May 13th, by Amanda:

A false accusation of sexual assault turned deadly last month in Utah when a teen girl’s brother sought vengeance over the claim of sexual assault that never was.

A 16-year-old girl, whose identity has not been revealed because she’s a minor, told her 17-year-old brother that Michael Fife, 62, sexually assaulted her on a Cache Valley Transit District (CVTD) bus. The 17-year-old tracked down Fife and physically attacked him when he got off the bus; wounds from the altercation left him dead.

According to Logan Police Department, reviewed surveillance footage from the bus revealed that the alleged assault never happened.

According to the police, “the video showed Mr. Fife walking past the girl, but no sexual assault occurred.” Did she lie just to see what effect it would have on her brother?

My thoughts

Here is a fourth story about an NFL player who refused to have sex with a woman, and he was falsely charged with raping her, as reported on May 10th, in The College Fix.

This one is important, because this guy lost millions of dollars in salary, because he was kept out of the NFL two years, when his accuser had no evidence whatsoever. That’s how unfair the system has become for men, and men with more to lose have more reason to avoid any relationships with women. Men with more money have more to lose to a false accusation. And these stories are so common in our age.

When a man measures up how much a woman adds to his life, and compares it to the risk of being cleaned out on a fact-free false accusation, it’s not a good value proposition. Women often look at things only from the woman’s point of view, and so they are mystified by how men could think like this. They just can’t seem to put themselves into men’s shoes to understand how dangerous women have become to men. And then men get told how weak and cowardly they are for refusing to ask women out, for refusing to commit, etc.

I think that the only women who are safe are women who have put in the effort to learn about these injustices towards men. If you are interested in a woman for a relationship, then ask her to name a few challenges that men face in this anti-male society. Ask her if she has a male relative who has faced a false accusation. Ask her if she has experience battling for men’s rights. If she doesn’t stand up for good men before marriage, she won’t respect you after marriage.

Women of the previous generation knew how to prepare herself for wife and mother roles, and present herself to a man in order to persuade him to marry her. Too many women in today’s generation have lost that ability to be feminine. They have lost the ability to be a real friend and support to a man. They don’t want to nurture his ability to be a masculine leader in a home.

It is rare to find a woman who is putting in the work to learn about things like abortion, divorce, and same-sex marriage. Most of them are instead focused on single motherhood by choice, delaying marriage for career, surrogacy, etc. Most women aren’t prepared to fight against anti-marriage, anti-child forces, and men sense from this that they aren’t serious about marriage as it really is: a self-sacrificial commitment requiring female and male natures.

Most young, unmarried women take on the priorities of the culture: animal rights, global warming, equal pay, abortion rights, gun control, higher taxes, single payer healthcare, public schools, etc. But most know very little about how to prepare themselves for a husband, or prepare themselves to provide for their children.

Atheist gets her PhD in astronomy and astrophysics and finds evidence for God

Christianity and the progress of science
Christianity and the progress of science

Christian apologist Terrell Clemmons tweeted this testimony by Sarah Salviander, a research scientist in astronomy and astrophysics at the prestigious University of Texas at Austin.

Dr. Salviander writes:

I was born in the U.S., but grew up in Canada. My parents were socialists and political activists who thought British Columbia would be a better place for us to live, since it had the only socialist government in North America at the time. My parents were also atheists, though they eschewed that label in favor of “agnostic.” They were kind, loving, and moral, but religion played no part in my life. Instead, my childhood revolved around education, particularly science. I remember how important it was to my parents that my brother and I did well in school.

I just want to point out that I hope that all you Christian parents are taking seriously the obligation to make your kids do well in school, because even if they start out as atheists when they are young, they can still find their way back to God through study, as Sarah did.

She had a bad start, that’s for sure:

I grew up in the 1970s and 1980s, a time when science fiction was enjoying a renaissance, thanks largely to the popularity of Star Wars. I remember how fascinated I was by the original Star Wars trilogy. It had almost nothing to do with science—it’s more properly characterized as space opera—but it got me thinking about space in a big way. I also loved the original Star Trek, which was more science fiction. The stoic and logical character of Mr. Spock was particularly appealing to me. Popular science was also experiencing a renaissance at that time, which had a lot to do with Carl Sagan’s television show, Cosmos, which I adored. The combination of these influences led to such an intense wonder about outer space and the universe, that by the time I was nine years old I knew I would be a space scientist someday.

Canada was already post-Christian by the 1970s, so I grew up with no religion. In retrospect, it’s amazing that for the first 25 years of my life, I met only three people who identified as Christian. My view of Christianity was negative from an early age, and by the time I was in my twenties, I was actively hostile toward Christianity. Looking back, I realized a lot of this was the unconscious absorption of the general hostility toward Christianity that is common in places like Canada and Europe; my hostility certainly wasn’t based on actually knowing anything about Christianity. I had come to believe that Christianity made people weak and foolish; I thought it was philosophically trivial. I was ignorant not only of the Bible, but also of the deep philosophy of Christianity and the scientific discoveries that shed new light on the origins of the universe and life on Earth.

She documents a phase of following Ayn Rand and embracing “Objectivism”, but eventually she rejects it for failing to answer the big questions of life.

More:

I began to focus all of my energy on my studies, and became very dedicated to my physics and math courses. I joined campus clubs, started to make friends, and, for the first time in my life, I was meeting Christians. They weren’t like Objectivists—they were joyous and content. And, they were smart, too. I was astonished to find that my physics professors, whom I admired, were Christian. Their personal example began to have an influence on me, and I found myself growing less hostile to Christianity.

This is why I think it is so important for Christian parents to raise their children to get advanced degrees… either to become professors themselves, or to finance others (e.g. – our own children) to do advanced degrees. It is so important for university students to see Christian professors on campus. And failing that, it’s important that we bring Christian speakers in to debate non-Christian speakers on the important issues. This will not happen unless we recognize how important it is, and then make a plan to achieve it.

More:

I had joined a group in the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS) that was researching evidence for the big bang. The cosmic background radiation—the leftover radiation from the big bang—provides the strongest evidence for the theory, but cosmologists need other, independent lines of evidence to confirm it. My group was studying deuterium abundances in the early universe. Deuterium is an isotope of hydrogen, and its abundance in the early universe is sensitive to the amount of ordinary mass contained in the entire universe. Believe it or not, this one measurement tells us whether the big bang model is correct.

If anyone is interested in how this works, I’ll describe it, but for now I’ll spare you the gruesome details. Suffice it to say that an amazing convergence of physical properties is necessary in order to study deuterium abundances in the early universe, and yet this convergence is exactly what we get. I remember being astounded by this, blown away, completely and utterly awed. It seemed incredible to me that there was a way to find the answer to this question we had about the universe. In fact, it seems that every question we have about the universe is answerable. There’s no reason it has to be this way, and it made me think of Einstein’s observation that the most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it’s comprehensible. I started to sense an underlying order to the universe. Without knowing it, I was awakening to what Psalm 19 tells us so clearly, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”

That summer, I’d picked up a copy of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas and was reading it in my off hours. Previous to this, I’d only known it as an exciting story of revenge, since that’s what the countless movie and TV adaptations always focused on. But it’s more than just a revenge story, it’s a philosophically deep examination of forgiveness and God’s role in giving justice. I was surprised by this, and was starting to realize that the concept of God and religion was not as philosophically trivial as I had thought.

All of this culminated one day, as I was walking across that beautiful La Jolla campus. I stopped in my tracks when it hit me—I believed in God! I was so happy; it was like a weight had been lifted from my heart. I realized that most of the pain I’d experienced in my life was of my own making, but that God had used it to make me wiser and more compassionate. It was a great relief to discover that there was a reason for suffering, and that it was because God was loving and just. God could not be perfectly just unless I—just like everyone else—was made to suffer for the bad things I’d done.

The Count of Monte Cristo is one of my favorite, favorite books as well, and had the same impact on me as it did on her.

OK, that’s enough for this post. Go read the rest, and please share it.

I spoke to her recently and she told me that she is working on several projects that are designed to get people more familiar with science and Bible issues. This woman is an expert Christian apologist and her life will have an influence. Are you going to be like her? Will you mentor others to be like her? Will you marry someone like her? Will you raise children who are like her? I think we should all have a plan to study the areas that are important and have an influence for God with what we learn.

Positive arguments for Christian theism

Dr. William Lane Craig interviewed on the Ben Shapiro Show Sunday Special

Dr. William Lane Craig on the Ben Shapiro Sunday special
Dr. William Lane Craig on the Ben Shapiro Sunday special

The episode of the Ben Shapiro show that we’ve all been waiting for is here! They discuss arguments for God’s existence in the first 25 minutes. The spend the first 26 minutes on arguments for God,and  the next 16 minutes on Christian distinctives. They spend a bunch more time responding to common arguments for atheism, and finally Ben asks Dr. Craig how he became a Christian.

Summary:

William Lane Craig, philosopher, theologian, and best selling author of numerous books including “On Guard: Defending Your Faith With Reason And Precision,” joins Ben to discuss the hard sciences vs. philosophy, the cosmological and ontological arguments, Jesus, slavery, gay marriage, and much more.

Video:

The MP3 file is here.

Topics:

  • Why are we seeing such a decline in religious belief in America?
  • Why are mainline denominations in Christianity and Judaism emptying out?
  • What was the driver behind the move away from religion starting in the 1960s?
  • Why is their a gap in the university and in the broader culture between reason and religious belief?
  • What is the strongest argument for God’s existence?
  • What is the most compelling argument for God’s existence for this culture?
  • Respond to Richard Dawkins’ challenge that God needs a cause.
  • Why does the universe have to have a cause?
  • Does Darwinian evolution provide grounds for our awareness of objective moral values and duties?
  • What is the strongest objection to the cosmological argument?
  • What is the strongest objection to the moral argument?
  • What about the objection that the existence of the universe is just a “brute fact” and doesn’t need an explanation for it’s existence?
  • What about David Hume’s objection to the law of causality?
  • What about objections to the cause of the universe from apparently uncaused events in quantum mechanics?
  • What is the ontological argument, and why is it frequently dismissed?
  • How do we get from an unmoved mover to a moral God?
  • Which arguments show that God is a mind?
  • How do you show that God is present and active in time now?
  • How do you move from God as Creator, Designer and moral lawgiver to a God who has revealed himself to human beings?
  • Who does Jesus claim to be in the gospels, and what is the evidence that his claims were correct?
  • From the Jewish perspective, this narrative has some  problems. First, merely declaring yourself as the Messiah is not seen as a punishable offense.
  • Second, the real problem is that Jesus vision of himself as the Messiah is completely different than how Jews have understood the Messiah. The Messiah in Judaism has always been a political figure who is destined to restore the Kingdom of Israel, bringing more Jews back to Israel, etc.  Claiming to be God, though would be blasphemy and a punishable offense.
  • Why is resurrection proof of divinity? Wasn’t Lazarus also raised from the dead?
  • The gospels were written decades after the events they claim to describe. Should we still see them as reliable enough to infer that the resurrection really happened?
  • Couldn’t legends have been introduced in the gap between the events and the time that the events were recorded?
  • Is it enough for us to have a Creator God, or is there a reason for God to reveal himself to us?
  • Tell us about your experience debating atheist scholars on university campuses.
  • Has any an atheist ever caused you to doubt your arguments?
  • The problem of human evil is easy to respond to, but how do you respond to the problem of natural evil, i.e. – suffering from events in the natural world, such as birth defects or natural disasters.
  • Atheists like to bring up specific disagreements they have with the Bible, e.g. – same-sex marriage, abortion, slavery, genocide. How would you respond to those?
  • Regarding slavery in the Bible, isn’t it the case that people sometimes do things that are not prescribed by God, and the Bible merely records that?
  • How would you respond then to people who push for same-sex marriage by arguing that this is a case where God wanted same-sex marriage, but couldn’t press for it because the people were not capable at that time and in that culture?
  • When discussing specific issues of morality, do you try to argue from a natural law perspective or from the morality in the Bible?
  • How would you respond to someone like Jordan Peterson who approaches religion teachings pragmatically, focusing on behaviors rather than the rational grounding of those behaviors?
  • How do you speak to young people about God without them losing interest?
  • How did you become a Christian?
  • As the influence of Judeo-Christian religion recedes, what do you see filling the void, and how do you see that affecting Western civilization going forward?

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

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