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Immense Pile Of Filth?

June 20, 2015

By Paul Homewood  




According to the Pope, the Earth looks like an immense pile of filth.

Scottish Sceptic applies a bit of well deserved common sense:


As a result of the industrial revolution – to which I’m proud to say a lot of Scots contributed. The world is now living in luxury, we are healthier, better educated and safer than at any time in history. Our rivers and clean, the clean air acts have cleaned up the air. You only have to look at the filth and squalor in which previous generations lived to know that most people in the past would have given anything to be born now.

OK, there’s still a lot of people living in squalor, but there’s been a noticeable improvement so that whereas the images of the “third world” used to be filled with people without clothes or any other modern convenience, now they all seem to carry mobile phones.

Only in a sick delusional mind, could anyone describe the present time as a “pile of filth” – but that is what the headlines are now reporting the Pope as saying. That flies in the face of history, reason and more or less redefines the best of all possible times as some stinking hell-hole.


Read the rest here.

  1. Bloke down the pub permalink
    June 20, 2015 7:38 pm

    OK, there’s still a lot of people living in squalor, but there’s been a noticeable improvement so that whereas the images of the “third world” used to be filled with people without clothes or any other modern convenience, now they all seem to carry mobile phones.

    I’ve seen it written somewhere recently that the spread of mobile phone use in the third world has had more beneficial effect on poverty than all the western aid projects put together. Where once it was not worth producing more than your own needs, now mobile phones allow people to find customers for their surplus and the economy can grow.

  2. Bloke down the pub permalink
    June 20, 2015 7:42 pm

    Not sure I’m happy to see under Recent Comments in your right hand column-
    Bloke down the pub on Immense Pile Of Filth?

  3. June 20, 2015 7:51 pm

    Reblogged this on

  4. June 20, 2015 9:41 pm

    Thanks, Paul.
    A good answer to the Pope’s rant is Joseph L. Bast’s at (USA Today).

  5. AndyG55 permalink
    June 20, 2015 9:52 pm

    I think he almost certainly meant the Vatican and its hangers-on.

  6. June 20, 2015 10:05 pm

    Is “pile of filth” (in Latin, presumably) an allusion to some point of church history, or of theology, perhaps?

  7. Elaine Supkis permalink
    June 20, 2015 11:58 pm

    It is referring to the rapist priests.

    • AndyG55 permalink
      June 21, 2015 2:44 am

      Correction Elaine..

      “rapist paedophile priests”

  8. June 21, 2015 6:21 am

    My own experience has confirmed for me the claims of Bjorn Lomborg. He sees the world through the eyes of a political scientist, whereas I see the world from the point of view of economics, geography and Earth science.

    But we have come to the same conclusion: global environmental conditions are improving and have been improving for decades during which I have worked as a development economist. During 45 years in 15 or so developing countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America, I have seen increased efforts to reduce indiscriminate disposal of solid waste (rubbish / garbage), industrial waste and human waste.

    Many countries enforce environmental regulations related to water and air pollution, some more effectively than others. The trend is strengthening, not weakening.

    What is clearly false is that the state of the global environment is becoming worse, apart from countries disrupted by civil unrest. For example, before the civil war, Syria was in process of implementing a nationwide program of solid waste management, a program that came to a halt in 2011.

    Monumental problems still exist in the developing world, such as burning rubbish in cities and open fires for cooking. The latter will become worse if fuel poverty restricts access to gas and electricity. The main drivers of environmental degradation seem to be poor governance (including corruption) and poverty.

    To be sure, the papal encyclical mentions corruption and poverty, but out of context.

    Poor governance and poverty are not caused by modern capitalism but are a legacy from the pre-urban, pre-industrial histories of developing countries, combined with rapid population growth. Land unsuitable for agriculture is degraded to support more cultivators.

    Which is why industrial investment and urban employment combine to protect the non-urban environment. Capitalism and fossil fuels make possible urbanization.

    Some suggest that urban living standards in developing countries are lower than rural living standards. The actual living conditions of the urban poor are clearly better relative to landless rural poor. Otherwise, they would not have chosen to live in urban areas, often against government regulations that aim to reduce rural-to-urban migration.

    Where industrial capitalism thrives, we have seen increases in living standards, better education and improved governance, and as a result, increased investment in waste management.

    Most observers, unfamiliar with the developing world, do cross-country comparisons instead of longitudinal (historical) comparisons and come to the wrong conclusions. There may be better examples than Indonesia, but so far Indonesia is the best example I know. The autocrat Suharto sowed the seeds of his own fall by promoting both capitalism and universal public education.

    Along the rural roads throughout Indonesia for 20 years before Suharto’s fall, schoolchildren in their blue and white uniforms filed along the roads in their millions, vast numbers of fieldworkers’ children being prepared for jobs in offices, shops and factories. These children are now voters who demand enforcement of the environmental regulations that are now mandatory as a prerequisite for any project.

    In the West, three-quarters of a century before, a more direct lesson was seen in the resolution of the public health problem of horse manure in cities prior to the automobile. The internal combustion engine reduced pollution and improved public health long before lead and other fuel additives created their own problems.

    I suspect that the Pope and the archbishop, who actually drafted the encyclical, have little direct experience of what they describe. Vatican institutions whose job it is to protect the papacy do not appear to have much say in the contents of the encyclical. And in contrast to some other Vatican institutions, the authors of this papal letter are amateurs dabbling in civil affairs they know little about. As a consequence, their solutions, if heeded, would have the unintended consequence of making environmental matters worse.

    The papal encyclical ignores practically everything we have learned about health, welfare and socioeconomic development. If the Pope had his way, the world would regress to a patchwork quilt of autocrats served by bureaucratic elites and armed forces to keep the landless serfs and urban poor under control. In a word, a world where the Catholic Church would regain the role it once had before the rise of capitalism, Protestantism and democratic government. But that world would be more like Soylent Green than the Green Utopia this encyclical prescribes.

    [Lest my reference to Protestantism offend Catholics, among Catholic historians, it is no secret that Catholicism has long been antagonistic towards both capitalism and democracy. In the 20th century, Hispanic elites in Europe and Latin America (Franco, Salazar, Stroessner, Perón) saw capitalist democracy in America and elsewhere as a Protestant aberration called “Liberalism”, which goes a long way to account for the tenor of this encyclical.]

    • THX1138 permalink
      June 21, 2015 11:18 am

      The leaded gasoline scare was a fraud, there was never any danger to the public from the use of lead in gasoline.

      Vide: “But, do leaded gasolines really contaminate the general public?

      The answer is simple: they do not. The lead burden in the human body has decreased since the advent of modern industry and leaded gasolines –in spite of years of anti-lead propaganda that has erroneously led the public to believe the opposite. This decrease is largely due to improvements in technologies that made possible eliminating lead in tableware, kitchen elements, plumbing and other items related to food.”

      • Bloke down the pub permalink
        June 24, 2015 7:25 pm

        The leaded petrol scare was another case of correlation is not the same as causation . It had been noted that children living next to busy roads had lower than usual IQs, and this was put down to the lead in the atmosphere. When lead was removed from petrol, there wasn’t the expected rise in IQs. It was then pointed out to the researchers that the homes next to busy roads tend to be cheaper and occupied by the less academically gifted amongst us. The children’s low attainment was the result of family up-bringing, not the air they breathed.


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