It is an obvious truth we too often forget.
At the Albert Einstein Memorial, on the grounds of the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, D.C., an explanatory sign states a simple fact that refutes the argument President Barack Obama's science adviser once made for redistributing wealth and limiting human population so as to save the human race from a poverty he claimed must inevitably intensify as our numbers increase.
"At Einstein's feet lies a circular sky map representing the planets, sun, moon, and stars, positioned as observed by astronomers from the U.S. Naval Observatory at noon on the day that the memorial was unveiled and dedicated," says the website of the National Academy of Sciences.
"The star map is composed of more than 2,700 metal studs set in a 28-foot field of emerald pearl granite," says the website.
But an explanatory sign erected at the memorial itself makes clear there are far more than 2,700 stars in our neighborhood of the universe — and they show a certain design.
"We live on a planet that orbits a star, our Sun," says the sign. "The Sun is one of two hundred billion stars that make up our Galaxy, the Milky Way. When you look up at the sky at night, all the stars you see belong to our Galaxy; all are orbiting about a very distant center. The stars in the Galaxy are not distributed at random; most are located in a flattened disk."
Although the Milky Way is just a small part of our universe, we only see a fraction of it — and sometimes not even that.
"Without a telescope, we see in the night sky only the nearest and brightest stars of our Galaxy, numbering just a few thousand," says the sign at the memorial. "During the day, blinded by the Sun, we fail to see the stars in the daytime sky."
As noted in this column before, John P. Holdren, Obama's chief science adviser, once predicted dismal consequences for the human race unless we curtail population growth and redistribute wealth.
In 1995, Holdren joined with Paul Ehrlich and Gretchen Daily of the Center for Conservation Studies at Stanford to author the opening chapter in a book — "Defining and Measuring Sustainability" — that was "Distributed for the United Nations University by the World Bank."
"We know for certain, for example that: No form of material growth (including population growth) other than asymptotic growth, is sustainable," wrote Holdren and his co-authors.
"At the sustainability limit, there will be a trade-off between population and energy-matter throughput per person, hence, ultimately, between economic activity per person and well-being per person," they said.
"This is enough to say quite a lot," they concluded, "about what needs to be faced up to eventually (a world of zero net physical growth), what should be done now (change unsustainable practices, reduce excessive material growth), and what the penalty will be for postponing attention to population limitation (lower well-being per person)."
In Human Ecology, a 1973 book he co-authored with Paul and Anne Ehrlich, Obama's future science adviser put his prescriptions in less clinical terms.
"Political pressure must be applied immediately to induce the United States government to assume its responsibility to halt the growth of the American population," Holdren and his co-authors said then.
"A massive campaign must be launched to restore a high-quality environment in North America and to de-develop the United States," they wrote. "De-development means bringing our economic system (especially patterns of consumption) into line with realities of ecology and the global resource situation."
"Redistribution of wealth both within and among nations is absolutely essential, if a decent life is to be provided for every human being," wrote Holdren and his co-authors.
"The situation," they wrote, "is best summarized in the statement: "Whatever your cause, it's a lost cause without population control."
But what if your cause were aiding in the achievement of eternal salvation for each of the net additional human lives God brought into being 20 minutes — or 20 years or 2,000 years — after Holdren and his co-authors wrote these words?
Would it have been better, as Obama's future science adviser argued, to halt such net additional human beings from coming into existence in the first place?
Did God truly fail to provide sufficient material resources for the human beings He created and to whom He gave sovereignty over the material world?
The answer to the second question is found in the stars above: We cannot count them all yet, let alone survey them, so we have no idea how vast are the material resources our Creator has put within our potential reach.
The answer to the former question is found by looking back across the extraordinary and sometimes unanticipated improvements in the material well-being of the human race that have occurred just since Obama's science adviser called for inducing "the United States government to assume its responsibility to halt the growth of the American population."
Which one of the inventors of our modern age should the government have halted from coming into being? Could government have picked out the next Einstein — and let him live — even if he was to be the 10th child born to a relatively poor family in a relatively crowded city?
Which life would the government deem less worthy than another?
The real threat to the human race is not in adding numbers to our population but in letting a few people in government play God.