Patterico's Pontifications

7/28/2009

Obama’s Science Czar Defines Life

Filed under: Obama — DRJ @ 7:03 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and Obama’s top science adviser, co-authored a 1973 book that said a newborn child “will ultimately develop into a human being” if he or she is properly fed and socialized:

“The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being,” John P. Holdren, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, wrote in Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.
***
The specific passage expressing the authors’ view that a baby “will ultimately develop into a human being” is on page 235 in chapter 8 of the book, which is titled “Population Limitation.”

At the time the book was written, the Supreme Court had not yet issued its Roe v. Wade decision, and the passage in question was part of a subsection of the “Population Limitation” chapter that argued for legalized abortion.”

Holdren’s co-authors were Stanford Professors Paul and Anne Ehrlich. Paul Ehrlich’s 1968 book The Population Bomb is credited with launching the zero population movement. Zombietime has more on the Ehrlichs and Holdren’s views.

Would the authors object to a mother killing her two month old baby if they really believe life begins after a child is socialized? I’m sure they would for PC reasons, but I don’t see how they could and be philosophically consistent.

— DRJ

61 Responses to “Obama’s Science Czar Defines Life”

  1. Disgusting. But not surprising from an administration which is completely upside down.

    Terry Gain (da64bd)

  2. What exactly makes this guy such an expert so as to become a Science Czar?

    JD (1ec03c)

  3. This is the kind of “scientist” only Nishi could love.

    JD (1ec03c)

  4. Malthusians have been in charge of science for a long time. It also explains the Global Warming knuckleheads — not just abortionists.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  5. Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.

    This was in 1973. It seems dated. Let’s revise:

    Indeed, it has been concluded that compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution if perceptions of the population crisis became sufficiently severe to endanger the society.

    There. That’s more how the Barack Obama rolls.

    happyfeet (42470c)

  6. OTOH…what if Rose Kennedy had had abortions, or Hillary Clinton’s mother?

    technomad (eefe5a)

  7. Dude’s freaky-scary, and I can’t find any evidence he’s actually changed.

    Foxfier (db0f51)

  8. I was going to comment about moral equivalence and how it really doesn’t stand the test of science or time.

    But, instead, I will say that these god damn hippies polluted my life when I was young and they pollute my life still.

    Being a human means something. When you give that up by being “intellectually honest” you give up the reason for being.

    Ag80 (99168f)

  9. Obama had better watch out–now that he has his own private Lysenko, all the cool “enlightened” world leaders will want one.

    M. Scott Eiland (5ccff0)

  10. I’d draw the line at about fifteen. Years.

    mojo (74ba73)

  11. Comment by mojo — 7/28/2009 @ 10:04 pm
    Perhaps for girls. For boys I think Heinlein got it about right, keep em in a barrel until they are 18 and then judge whether they are fit to join society. If not, seal the barrel and dispose.

    Soronel Haetir (2a5236)

  12. This guy could have been science adviser for the Nazis.

    Kevin Murphy (0b2493)

  13. Holdren clearly doesn’t think it’s possible to be a human being in the first few year of life, but we should probably also be cognisant of the fact that he doesn’t even consider you a proper human being later on unless you have had the Holdren-approved essential socializing experiences.

    What you or I would call essential socializing experiences are not necessarily going to conform to Holdren’s view of “essential”.

    jcurtis (14bf32)

  14. I love these we have to cut the population to save the planet types. My answer is always you go first.

    daleyrocks (718861)

  15. It’s always interesting, daley, to learn what kinds of goodies that these types personally own, that they don’t want anyone else to have. Funny thing, that.

    What they really are, is ecoaristocrats. They want to go to Half Dome whenever they like. They just want regular people not to do so. Like when Barbara Streisand urged people to not use electric or gas driers and to simply hang their clothes out on a line. I’m sure she does exactly that on her estate.

    But let me turn it over to a much better spokesperson than myself: Lewis Black.

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-april-25-2007/back-in-black–earth-day

    I particularly love his bit about Matt Damon.

    Just remember. Celebrities of all stripes are better than we are!

    Their motto is: let them eat government cheese!

    Eric Blair (204104)

  16. And even though good old Lewis gets a bit partisan here, there is also some wonderful deconstruction of celebrity hypocrisy:

    http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/mon-april-20-2009/back-in-black—kids–earth-day

    Eric Blair (204104)

  17. Apparently Holdren and ilk have never been properly socialized and therefore are not human.

    Jayke (f7125d)

  18. Comment by daleyrocks :
    “I love these we have to cut the population to save the planet types. My answer is always you go first.”

    That IS my standard reply: “You go first and show us how it is done.”

    Alas, no takers so far.

    Jay Stevens (6ac69b)

  19. yous conservatives fucks should all go die.

    spettro (f27ceb)

  20. There is a sick cold intellectual honesty to this position. There really is little cognitive difference between a fetus and an infant. Both are either human beings, or neither are.

    so, to have your ‘choice’, you have to either pretend a difference, or accept that you’re cool with killing babies.

    Juan (bd4b30)

  21. When I hear these lunatics, I think to myself the immeasurable happiness common people in the Soviet Union and China felt when they took the “intellectuals” were subjected to their own medicine in the gulags and farmer collectives.

    My father always said what this country needed was 10 years of a Leftist Dictatorship to clear out the nonsense. He always talked about how all the imbeciles of the Left you saw on TV would be exterminated first since they represented the principal enemy of the new Leftist Leader(s).

    Being a man who survived 40 years of one dictator or another, I am beginning to see how vastly wise my dad is.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  22. hopefully we all have enough common sense to limit the size of our broods so as not to elicit mandated population controls

    barbara (cee122)

  23. #21 Not really ….. hopefully we limit the size of our families to an amount we can reasonably care for, educate and support. What is common sense for someone else is not for me …..

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  24. #21 “hopefully we all have enough common sense to limit the size of our broods so as not to elicit mandated population controls”

    Oh my. Barbara will be first in line for the voluntary sterilization. “Just drink this Kool-Aid, dear.” If we don’t offend our masters, maybe they’ll be kind to us.

    Our citizenry has changed quite a lot in the last 2 centuries. It makes a person wonder if we have the guts to keep a free society.

    Gesundheit (47b0b8)

  25. What the population control nutbags conveniently ignore is what the end result of their grand plans have sown in reality. China pretty much adhered to their tenets in every way, yet now they’re facing a crisis of youth depopulation of an enormous magnitide. Who’s left to work to support the massive numbers of the aged over the ensuing decades? China may well be the first country that’s gone from a decided younger generation to an older one in less than a normal lifetime. We could also look to Japan for the consequences of a voluntary one – child policy, along with strict controls on immigration. They’re facing a rapidly aging population as well, with no one left to support their society into the future.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  26. Comment by Juan — 7/29/2009 @ 4:52 am: so, to have your ‘choice’, you have to either pretend a difference, or accept that you’re cool with killing babies.

    Well said, Juan. That’s been my point on abortion for years.

    Vivian Louise (eeeb3a)

  27. #23, be great if ObamaTards were mandated first to

    1) Sterlize so as to save the planet
    2) Get Gov.t Care so as to “save money”
    3) Drive a Prius so as to save the environment
    4) Eat only tofu so as to save the animals
    5) Live in crowded inner-cities so as to save the trees
    6) Compost their refuse so as to prevent sewage spills
    7) Use candles instead of light to save Natural Gas
    8) Get rid of refrigerators so as to save the ozone
    9) Give away their homes and possession so as to live with nature
    10) Work for no pay so as to feed their more deserving “brothers”

    Boy, that would be the day.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  28. DMAC, don’t bother esplaning.

    People think money has intrinsic value. They don’t understand that money’s value is based on the premise someone is willing to give you something TANGIBLE for it.

    All the dollars bills and insurance price reductions won’t mean crappola if no one is around to provide the services in exchange for worthless green paper.

    When all the ObamaTards hit 80 and their are no young people to care for them because they decided to abort them — we can just Soylent Green them FIRST.

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  29. C’mon people. It does not lend much credence to your comments/arguments when you can’t even spell correctly. Are you just lazy or just as uninformed as some of your comments appear to be? There is this new device called a dictionary – maybe you could check it out!

    SpellCheck (89b0d3)

  30. My question is this: Why do we have czars anyway? Isn’t that a Russian/Soviet thing from long ago? Bush never had czars, Clinton didn’t either. Why does Obama get czars? Why is he so special? How can one argue that a fetus is not a living thing? Seems to me that it moves on it’s own, even in the womb, and is not part of the mother’s body, therefore it is it’s own person. Besides, these “experts” are only as good as their professors, and humans are definitely not that smart. If we were really smart, we would’ve been leaving comments on patterico.com thousands or millions of years ago. Don’t trust this radical government the American people have idiotically elected, because they are plowing bills through Congress that we haven’t even heard about in the media, they are hiding most of what they are doing, and Obama is the root of the problem. Ever heard of Joseph Stalin? Seems like Obama has the same socialist ideals (maybe he doesn’t kill people directly, but his new health plan will leave 65 and older people in the dark with little to no help, basically left to die.) The $787 BILLION stimulus package was 2,000 pages long. How many of our senators/representatives do you think actually took the time to read and analyze ALL 2,000 pages? I can assure you that many of them did not read all of it, there was simply not enough time between other bills and recesses and Sotomayor and all the other b.s. for the members of congress to truly review where the money is going. Those of us who work for ourselves and don’t rely on employers are the hardest hit, and that is a crock of poo! Our kids will be paying for this stimulus for at least 3-4 generations, maybe more. Thanks Obama! You cut Bush down complaining he spent too much, but you’ve already spend more in 6 months than Bush did in 8 years. Thanks for a bunch of nothing!

    Timmy the Tooth (81722c)

  31. SpellCheck: Don’t leave comments if they have nothing to do with the article. And a dictionary isn’t technically a device. But to follow my own rule, I don’t think anyone should be worrying about overpopulation, considering that the world’s population could more or less fit into Texas.

    Crass Menagerie (c16b86)

  32. Comming from a communist country I see where this government is trying to drive. Obama makes me vomit .

    volos (caa795)

  33. Ad Hominem attacks on the people within the administration weakens your position, even if there is a faint hint of logic to (some of) your arguments.

    Defining *life* or the point at which *life begins* is not easy. Existential views from one’s personal experience (life experience, philosophical understanding, religious background) provide a subjective and, typically, biased viewpoint. Accounting for one’s own viewpoint, and the viewpoints of others with whom one interacts, may seduce one into thinking that there is a simple solution to the *inception of life question.* However, parochial viewpoints founded upon flawed logic lead to erroneous conclusions.

    My assessment is that this maxim applies to anyone who casts any type of judgment, whatsoever; citizen, partisan, administrator, media.

    Since I have not personally read Director Holdren’s 1973 book, nor Dr. Anne and Paul Ehrlich’s book, I am not in a position to opine or judge.

    hausmeister (324b6a)

  34. Hey SpellCheck. I put your word C’mon into the online version of Webster’s Dictionary and guess what? The word does not exist. Stop throwing rocks in glass houses.

    Just a comment (af47d1)

  35. Does everyone here really care about the unborn that much or are you just trying to please god and get into heaven? Maybe have him send a few less natural disasters for us to deal with?

    Thank the Passer (810241)

  36. Let’s wait till we count 20 billion people living here on Earth. Then I guess we will no longer need to speculate on “when does the life begin” because the worlwide hunger and consequent wars will take care of the population control for us.

    For now, all of you who so value the human life, you could start by supporting children dying of hunger around the world. That would be a concrete sign that you really care. Talk is cheap, you know ?

    Peter (47b03f)

  37. Ad Hominem attacks on the people within the administration weakens your position, even if there is a faint hint of logic to (some of) your arguments.

    Since I have not personally read Director Holdren’s 1973 book, nor Dr. Anne and Paul Ehrlich’s book

    Worst case of cognitive dissonance I’ve ever seen.

    Dmac (e6d1c2)

  38. I believe he meant that only some conservative babies actually grow up to be human beings – the rest become sheep

    Rushbilloglen (994c84)

  39. […] idea of how slippery this slope can get. From his book Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions, via Patterico’s Pontifications: The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early […]

    Obama’s Science Czar: Babies Aren’t Human Until They’ve Been Socialized : Stop The ACLU (dae8af)

  40. […] Obama’s Science Czar Defines Life  […]

    Today’s Tidbits (788229)

  41. Why doesn’t it surprise me that a so called scientist would come up with this?

    Tom Kihs (573c71)

  42. Of course they could object; one can always object to killing animals. Alternately, we could argue that the norm that one ought not kill babies is a good prudential norm to adopt regardless of the personhood of the infant.

    jpe (08c1dd)

  43. I see all the Obama and liberal bashing, but the article is inherently misleading. The headline talks about defining “life” and the quote is about defining “a human being”. What constitutes a “human being” is philosophical. Life has scientific definitions. Would Holdren define a baby as life? I am sure the answer is true. The article is inflamitory and the headline does not reflect the content.

    What is more tragic: A miscarriage, the murder of a young women with small children, or the death of a 90 year old man by natural causes? Most people would say the middle one, but all are the end of life of a being that genetically matches what we call homo sapien. We all make value judgments.

    Dave (ab47e7)

  44. Holdren’s definition of life is the least of his science nonsense. I do see some nice eugenics comments though. Funny how a topic like this smokes them out.

    Mike K (2cf494)

  45. Remember all you pro-life enthusiasts that you can’t be pro-life and anti-zombie. Btw, this article and most of the comments here are plain stupid.

    MikeyG. (6e2a99)

  46. Start with math. Human population growth is not zero, and not linear. That means instead of a steady growth rate we have an increasing growth rate. These historical world population numbers are courtesey of Wikipedia, and are in millions: 1750-791; 1800-978; 1850-1,262; 1900-1,650; 1950-2,521; 1999-5,978; 2008-6,707. See how the world population keeps getting bigger, and not by the same amount? Can anyone answer roughly how much land was created in the same time? With rising sea levels, we’re actually losing land! Based solely on the numbers (and they don’t lie), our population is going to keep growing faster and faster.

    Listen, population controls are inevitable because we as humans are incapable of controlling ourselves effectively. The world really is one big biodome, we’ve just been too cavalier to take any thought of our existance beyond our children’s lifetimes. Some who have commented on here feel that Mr. Holden is a inhuman brute. All he did was CO-author (nobody’s villifying the other authors, just the one attached to a controversial president) a book 30 years ago about the unavoidable effects of overpopulation on our society and the possible steps that will be taken to manage the problem. This guy is looking to the future and discussing ways to keep humans from becoming extinct, and not sitting around criticizing anybody who thinks differently than him.

    He’s not advocating these measures you thick headed imbeciles, he’s lamenting them! The only thing I can see that he is advocating is smaller measures enacted on a shorter timetable. They may be uncomfortable, but to keep the human race going they may be worth it. Not too long ago we dropped atom bombs and nearly launched nuclear missiles in order to protect the American way of life. How about wearing a rubber to save humanity?

    Josh (7a0381)

  47. Human population growth is not zero, and not linear.

    It might not be a first-order equation, but population growth is linear. Just a minor quibble, though.

    Listen, population controls are inevitable because we as humans are incapable of controlling ourselves effectively.

    That’s provably false. Birth rates for countries drop dramatically as they become industrialized.

    As the world gets wealthier, birth rates slow down. They even drop below replacement rate in many countries.

    Steverino (69d941)

  48. Josh, another Luddite and Malthusian.

    Wrong for 3,000 years but still going…….

    HeavenSent (01a566)

  49. #45 Josh asked, “How about wearing a rubber to save humanity?”

    Please see #14 and #18. The root of your question has been anticipated and an appropriate response prepared.

    Ropelight (bb3af5)

  50. Pretty lame thinking even back in ’73.
    Hope a wise latina has better insight into when life begins than this guy.
    And I had alway heard that, “Life begins at 50.”

    JM (05f2e8)

  51. […] idea of how slippery this slope can get. From his book Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions, via Patterico’s Pontifications: The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early […]

    Papa Mike’s Blog » Blog Archive » Obama’s Science Czar: Babies Aren’t Human Until They’ve Been Socialized (69d388)

  52. MikeyG and Josh sure p3wnd y’all.

    JD (40d7f4)

  53. Well, at least he is logically consistent with his pro-choice views.

    “What is more tragic: A miscarriage, the murder of a young women with small children, or the death of a 90 year old man by natural causes? Most people would say the middle one, but all are the end of life of a being that genetically matches what we call homo sapien. We all make value judgments.”

    Most people would probably see a young mother being murdered more tragic than a newborn baby being throw in a dumpster. That doesn’t mean it should be okay to throw babies in dumpsters if a person personally thinks it is morally okay, does it?

    “He’s not advocating these measures you thick headed imbeciles, he’s lamenting them!”

    This doesn’t change the fact that he does not think an infant is a human being. If it is not a human being, it should be able to be killed out of convenience like any other animal, no?

    M (9a1b35)

  54. @ #53: we generally don’t permit the killing of animals out of convenience. For instance, I can’t just decide I don’t want my cat and then kill it.

    To do so would be both unethical and illegal.

    jpe (08c1dd)

  55. […] Obama’s Science Czar: Babies Aren’t Humans Until They’ve Been Socialized FRC Blog via RightWingNews (29 July, 2009) -”A large part of the horror of abortion lies in the monstrous presumption of liberals declaring that human life begins not at conception, but whenever they say it does. Maybe that’s six weeks, maybe six months. Maybe it’s years. Obama’s Science Czar John Holdren (the guy who wanted to put a sterilizing agent in our drinking water) gives us an idea of how slippery this slope can get. From his book Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions, via Patterico’s Pontifications: […]

    Family Newswatch « PA Family Institute Blog (44368e)

  56. […] class back in college in which the majority position in the classroom was in favor of this view.  And it may be gaining alarming influence outside the halls of the academy: “The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential […]

    Life and Death « Pure Premium (5381c6)

  57. […] Which led me to wonder, what would be the leftist objection to “Fetus Farms” if someone decided to build one? Unborn babies are not considered human, which is what justifies abortion. You can kill an unborn baby at any stage in pregnancy. So, it follows, you can do whatever you want to an unborn baby. (And we have a Science Czar who argues that even young children don’t count as people until they have been “socialized.”) […]

    Why Not? « Teh Resistance Blog (054690)

  58. […] this slope can get. From his (Holdren’s) book Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions, via Patterico’s Pontifications: The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early […]

    Obama Administration HHS Website Describes Children As “Sexual Beings”…and John Holdren states that Children aren’t HUMANS until They have been Sufficiently Socialized. « Romanticpoet's Weblog (314068)


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