On Answers in Genesis’ Woefully Misplaced Priorities

On Answers in Genesis’ Woefully Misplaced Priorities November 18, 2019

When I see an Answers in Genesis headline that references climate change, I tend to read it. The young earth creationist organization holds that man-made climate change is a myth and that the Bible says God will not allow the earth to be destroyed until the appointed time, and I like to keep tabs on it. So when I saw last week’s headline—which centered on some scientists’ call for stabilizing and reducing the world’s population—I clicked.

Ideas have consequences. And the climate change alarmism and hysteria sweeping the world certainly has consequences. Just to mention one example, 11,000 scientists … recently published a warning about the so-called climate emergency, arguing that the global population “must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity” if we’re going to fight man-made climate change adequately.

How do they propose “stabilizing” and even reducing the human population? With “bold and drastic . . . population policies,” including access to “family-planning services.” This, of course, is a euphemism for birth control and abortion (murder of children in the womb)—and probably euthanasia and eugenics. Over a billion unborn lives have been lost to abortion already, and these individuals want to ensure that more and more lives are taken. Why? Well, in their view, to save other people. But at what cost? The cost of untold numbers of human lives!

I was genuinely surprised that Answers in Genesis did not mention of China’s One Child Policy, which involved forced abortions and was—and still is, even in its modified form—a disaster for human rights. When people start talking about a need to reduce the world population, my mind goes immediately to China. I understand that it is unsustainable for global population to continue increasing at the rate of the last hundred years—particularly with the possible wars over resources that global climate change will inevitably launch—but never that.

But no! Answers in Genesis isn’t concerned about ensuring that world policies relative to population are not coercive. They’re concerned about abortions. They do not link this concern to policies like that in China, leaving the reader to conclude that their concern is about women who choose voluntarily to have abortions.

What about that one line about euthanasia and eugenics?

This, of course, is a euphemism for birth control and abortion (murder of children in the womb)—and probably euthanasia and eugenics.

This line feels weirdly disconnected, and does not appear to involve Answers in Genesis’ underlying concern about people being provided with access to family-planning services. In other words, their reference to euthanasia and eugenics does not appear to be a concern that there will be forced abortions or sterilizations.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, euthanasia is “the painless killing of a patient suffering from an incurable and painful disease or in an irreversible coma.” This aligns with evangelical understandings. However, Oxford defines eugenics as “the science of improving a population by controlled breeding to increase the occurrence of desirable heritable characteristics.” This is not how evangelicals use the term.

Evangelicals use the term eugenics to reference voluntary abortions sought by women who have learned that their fetus has an abnormality or defect. Whether such abortions are right or wrong is not the point. The point is that we’re still talking about voluntary access to family planning services, not forced abortions or sterilization.

When there is talk about reducing the world population, my concern is forced abortions or sterilization. Answers in Genesis’ concern, when faced with the same language, is women having access to birth control and abortion.

This strikes me as a case of misbegotten priorities.

Scientists: We need to stabilize and reduce the world population.

Me: I get that! Just be careful not to involve coercive or forced abortions or sterilization, okay?

Answers in Genesis: SAY WHAT NOW?! We can’t let women choose how many children they have!!

Jeez okay wow.

All of this made me curious what the referenced scientists actually said. I had to click through a series of links to get to the original language—link to the original source, people!—but I found it:

Still increasing by roughly 80 million people per year, or more than 200,000 per day (figure 1a–b), the world population must be stabilized—and, ideally, gradually reduced—within a framework that ensures social integrity. There are proven and effective policies that strengthen human rights while lowering fertility rates and lessening the impacts of population growth on GHG emissions and biodiversity loss. These policies make family-planning services available to all people, remove barriers to their access and achieve full gender equity, including primary and secondary education as a global norm for all, especially girls and young women (Bongaarts and O’Neill 2018).

This is what Answers in Genesis is so upset about. Not only does it immediately relieve any concerns I might have had—note the focus on human rights and on access, not coercion—it goes beyond, emphasizing the role of gender equity and education for girls and women. This should be unsurprising—we know that when women have options, agency, and access to education and family planning services such as birth control, they tend to have fewer children. They tend to live longer, healthier, and more stable lives as well. Everyone benefits.

But Answers in Genesis has a mad. How dare scientists want to stabilize and reduce the world population by *checks notes* ensuring that women have access to birth control, abortion, equal opportunity, and education.

One last note. The Answers in Genesis article we’re discussing starts with this:

Ideas have consequences. And the climate change alarmism and hysteria sweeping the world certainly has consequences.

Then, at the bottom of the page, there’s this:

More than ever, Christians need to have a sensible view of climate change, grounded, ultimately, in God’s Word. Decisions made about how to combat perceived catastrophic man-made climate change will mostly affect the poorest among us and may result in the death of millions of children. We need to have a biblical response!

This is an advertisement for Answers in Genesis Easter conference, which will include coverage of climate change. That reference to millions of children ending up dead as a result of climate change? That’s a reference to the abortions that Answers in Genesis argues will be the result of increased birth control access driven by the above stated desire to stabilize the world’s population. That reference to the poor being affected? That’s a reference to Answers in Genesis’ claim that a move to renewables will make energy more expensive.

No, really. Reread the paragraph. And then remember: ideas have consequences.

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