ramblings of an aimless mind

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The population bomb.

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I am sure the world has always been fraught with problems. Sometimes they are complex problems with no specific textbook fix, such as eliminating poverty or trying to create a framework and secure lasting peace. Others may have more specific solutions, such as eliminating a disease for which a vaccine exists. One thing we can be sure of, is that there have always been problems, there are problems today and there are likely to be problems in the future.

Most people will be familiar with the current batch of global problems, such as global warming, energy security and availability of food and water resources for a burgeoning human population. Most people will probably also be able to rattle off the proposed solutions, such as harnessing renewable energy sources, genetic modified crops, carbon caps for countries etc. What is surprising is that not too many people think of aggressive population control campaigns as part of the solution.

That most (if not all) of our current batch of problems can be solved with a lower population ought to be common sense. After all, if there were only hundred million humans on earth, we could drive between the rooms in our house, probably fly to work in one 747 per person and natures clean up processes would take care of all that we throw at it. The problem is that there are six billion of us aspiring to super rich lifestyles and there simply aren’t enough resources to support that.

The idea of controlling population is certainly not a new one. Prof. Albert Bartlett has spoken on this topic numerous times and there is a new society which calls itself The Optimum Population Trust and which campaigns for the steadying, or even negative growth of population both in the UK and in the world. While it is heartening to see that this movement is organising itself well, my heart sinks a bit when countries like India, already bursting at the seams with 1.1 – 1.2 billion people start getting all in a tizzy about how the large population is no longer a problem.

Fewer people on the earth will mean lower consumption of natural resources, less difficulty in meeting food and energy demands with available resources, a huge reduction in the decimation of the environment and possibly even a reduction in global conflict, since there are less people who have time to spare and get on each other’s nerves. It seems like a simple, elegant and effective solution to a lot of today’s problems, but somehow I don’t think that the UN/G20/whoever will be deciding to aggressively promote the idea of having only one/two children as a policy more beneficial for the long term future of the world.

Maybe having just one child should be added to the list of the current crop of “green” practices. It may be the most effective contribution in the long term…

Written by clueso

May 17, 2009 at 11:30 pm

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Its interesting how our busy lives lead to weird and funny businesses popping up. A prime example being the “rent-a-X” services in Japan, where “X” could be anything you like, from a cat or dog to husband, mother etc etc.

The kind of contract that will exist for the rent-a-relative services intrigues me and makes me want to try them out at least once. Mainly because normal relatives, not being a business proposition, do not come with any rigid guidelines for behaviour. A parent’s duty, for instance, is defined that he should take care of his children, including something pleasurable like making kiddish sounds or taking a walk as well the less desirable aspects like changing nappies, cleaning up spilt food and wiping the floor when the child throws up. All this when the baby is healthy, lets not talk about when they get ill. If new parents are never warned by their elders, they would probably not have the foggiest clue about what all work they can expect from their children. But they roll with the punches, move on and very often land up doing a fine job of it.

A rented mother website on the other hand would probably have something like the following.

1. Basic mothering package – £40/session*

1 hour of walks, 1.5 hours of  “goo-goo” sounds, 2 nappy changes per session 500gms/session of spilt food cleaning up and 2 hours of trying to stop child from crying. Well suited to the average baby.

2. High poo-ers package – £50/session*

Same as basic mothering package but with 4 nappy changes included. Excellent value for those high-pooers or if your baby has an upset stomach.

3. High-work packages – £60/session*

1 hour of walks, 1.5 hours of  “goo-goo” sounds, 4 nappy changes per session 1500gms/session of spilt food cleaning up and 2 hours of trying to stop child from crying.  Good for hyperactive kids who cause a mess!

4. Bonanza package – £80/session*

2 hour of walks, 3 hours of  “goo-goo” sounds, 4 nappy changes per session 1500gms/session of spilt food cleaning up and 3 hours of trying to stop child from crying.  A fantastic way to pamper your tiny tot.

Extra charges

1. Extra Nappy Change – £10/change

2. Extra Walks – £5/hour

3. Extra “Goo-goo” sounds – £5/hour

4. Extra spilt food cleaning – £2/100gms

5. Extra time to stop crying – £5/hour

*Session lasts for 9am-5pm on weekdays and 10am-5pm on weekends. Inclusion of any religious activities in the session must be specified at time of booking. Nappies, food and cutlery charges not included in price. Illnesses charges extra. Terms and conditions apply.

I could go on, but I am sure you get the idea. Normal relationships have such a large tacit component that trying to put all of it in a contract for someone who is out to make as much money as possible would be an interesting exercise. To support this system we will then have computer applications to track the number of nappy changes and amount of spilt food your baby is responsible for and comparison websites in which the parent can input the desired parameters and find the best deal for his baby. At the end of it all, the industry will probably employ 10000 people who will be happy to have jobs.

My favourite was the one where women about to get married hired a husband to “get used to married life”. Ignoring the somewhat sidey male-prostitute idea this description evokes, my guess is the hired “husband” will have to spend his whole day being obnoxious, sitting in front of the TV without helping his wife, farting and burping all over the place and in general being a slob. This would prepare the soon to be bride for the very worst behaviour possible, ensuring that she will be able to handle her marital life with ease.  Acting like the laziest guy alive on planet and getting paid to do it? Now won’t that be an attractive job?

Written by clueso

January 19, 2009 at 12:04 pm

Why a omniscient, omnipresent and omnipotent God isn’t worth worshipping.

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Ever since I was a little kid, I have heard of how God is omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent. Accompanying this tidbit of information is how God has control over our destinies and how we should pray to him so that we get to lead comfortable lives. It is also necessary to do good things during one’s life, as at the end of it all, we are all held accountable for our actions and by doing good we (or rather our souls) go to heaven, where all is fine and dandy. If we don’t be good people, then bad things happen, varying from not getting “liberated” from the material world to going to this place called hell, where we learn what it feels like to be on the wrong side of a barbecue.

The above few lines were repeated to me often, usually without further explanation. It therefore summarises my theological training and expertise. Over time I have developed new views which more closely match the title of this post and here is some of the reasoning behind it. If there is anyone who can punch a hole in any of my arguments, I would love to hear their ideas…

Why do it?
One of the first questions that come to mind when thinking of an omniscient and omnipotent God is why would he go through the trouble of creating the universe and us humans and animals as we have been, are and will be?

There can be multiple reasons why anyone would create something so elaborate. One reason for building things their utility. We build houses because it beats living in the rain, snow, wind. Some animals sharpen their claws because it helps in getting food. People invented cars so that they could travel around. So maybe God has a use for the universe as it is, like helping him achieve some goal, or keeping an enemy at bay. That means that God needs us for some purpose and he is therefore not omnipotent, because if he were, he could have just created what he wanted or driven away whatever threatens him without going through this whole rigmarole.

Maybe he is in the process of creating whatever he needs and we are the means to the end. But then the moment we concede that, we are seriously jeopardising his claim to omniscience as well. The fact that he needed to create the universe to get the object X means that he does not know the answer to the question “how to get X without creating the universe?” and he is not omniscient any more. If there are some factors that prevent him from getting what he wanted without creating the universe, then the claims to omnipotency look even weaker and suddenly God realises that he isn’t really having a good day.

Sometimes people do things simply for the mental challenge of it(think jigsaws, crosswords etc) without any specific benefit to oneself. Unfortunately, things can only be mental challenges when we initially do not know how to solve them, but then try to figure out. But we all know what happens if we said that God did not know how to create the universe and wanted to try out a method don’t we? Yep, that’s right, omniscience gets flushed down the hole again.

Very often, things are built to do experiments. Once again, that implies a lack of knowledge and once again, we have omniscience taking a belting.

Which leaves us with just one option, that God created the universe and everything in it just for the heck of it. He knew how to create it. He also knows how to make it perfect, but for some reason he will not. He prefers to just sit back and watch everyone kill, cheat and lie to each other. He enjoys watching the injustice, the violence and the hatred go unchecked for the billions of years before he steps in and one day and decides to make things all right. If he enjoys doing that, then plainly he is a sadist. If he doesn’t care about it, then he is just a shoddy workman who can’t be bothered to do the job right. If he cares about it, but does not do anything about it even when he can, then he is plain lazy.

Either way, it becomes increasingly difficult to look up to him as the paragon of excellence, doesn’t it?

As I wrote this up, I realised I have quite a lot to say on this topic, so more on this later…

Written by clueso

October 27, 2008 at 12:08 am

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