Breast-feeding and the overpopulation myth


I am putting this under apologetics because I have found that I have to defend the Church against the myth of overpopulation when discussing contraception. I was researching the history of breast-feeding and noticed some irony, or coincidences, in common dates.

During the 1850’s baby formula was starting to be mass produced. The scientists were trying to develop a “formula” that most closely resembled breast-milk. They were so convinced of its effectiveness that they started to tout it as, “better than breast-milk.” As many of us know this is entirely untrue, but during the time period (and currently) it lead to a decline in breast-feeding. Breast-feeding serves a two-fold purpose. It is both the best nutrition for infants and suppresses ovulation to naturally space conception.

The irony I discovered was that the overpopulation myth, spread by Malthus, was gaining popularity in the same time period. The myth, for those unfamiliar with it, was that our population was beginning to outweigh our food supply and our ability to manufacture enough food. So here is this guy claiming that there isn’t enough food and that there are too many people, and it is in the same time period that science is working to replace the natural food made effortlessly by women. And the further ironic twist is that a decline in breast-feeding leads to a rise in fertility, so more people are naturally created.

I was amazed at how Truth can reveal itself in the weirdest places. So am I just making connections that aren’t there or does anyone else find this to be more than a coincidence?


1850’s was a time (basically the start) of mass-media so while there’s probably no direct cause/effect its an intresting correlation.


Instead of overpopulation, what do you have to say about dysgenic fertility?

“The Decline of the World’s IQ” by Richard Lynn and John Harvey

Dysgenic fertility means that there is a negative correlation between intelligence and number of children. Its presence during the last century has been demonstrated in several countries. We show here that there is dysgenic fertility in the world population quantified by a correlation of − 0.73 between IQ and fertility across nations. It is estimated that the effect of this has been a decline in the world’s genotypic IQ of 0.86 IQ points for the years 1950–2000. A further decline of 1.28 IQ points in the world’s genotypic IQ is projected for the years 2000–2050. In the period 1950–2000 this decline has been compensated for by a rise in phenotypic intelligence known as the Flynn Effect, but recent studies in four economically developed countries have found that this has now ceased or gone into reverse. It seems probable that this “negative Flynn Effect” will spread to economically developing countries and the whole world will move into a period of declining genotypic and phenotypic intelligence. It is possible that “the new eugenics” of biotechnology may evolve to counteract dysgenic fertility.

I say we should simply ignore it and wait for “the new eugenics”.


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