Overpopulation

TonyZXT
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Overpopulation

I often think that overpopulation of the earth is like the elephant in the room politically, and socially speaking.  If you look into population growth estimates, and recent growth it is scary.  Almost unfathomable to me that we as a planet don't address this issue soon.  When I was a kid there were 5+ billion people, then 6 billion, now there's already 6.76 billion people in the world!   I'm only 32 years old, so this is an alarming rate to me.  That number could be more than 10 billion before 2050 and accelerating. 

This just brings a ton of questions to mind. 

Do we need to tax the planet's resources like that? 

How many people can the planet actually sustain? 

How can we go on growing without driving out all the species that we have left? 

What should we do about it?

Why is it such a taboo subject that the media ignores it?

What would the Humanist/Atheist approach to this problem be?

 

Personally I think restrictions should be put in place according to  population density/ resource use/ overall pop.  Thus The US, and India, and china would be among the first to have restrictions imposed on birth per family.  I'm not sure what exactly China has in place but something like that would have to be put in place globally.  Exceptions would need to be made on moral grounds in situations like loss of a child, and others.  Go beyond the imposed limit, and be taxed.  Possibly other measures as well.   All taxes, penalties could be adjusted up for higher income levels.  Upon starting the measures all current children would not count against the family, but any additional births could result in more taxes/ penalties if it took you beyond the limit of your country/ area.  No matter where in the world you are, making a Duggar style family or anything approaching it would be prohibitively expensive!

What are every ones thoughts on this?

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I have yet to see a credible

I have yet to see a credible argument that shows overpopulation is a concern for our species. As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today. That we are about to expand off of Earth and into our solar system relegates concerns down to nothingness.

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Let's suppose the population

Let's suppose the population of mankind grows by 1% each year from now on. That's fewer then the growth rate we had during the 20th century with all it's wars.

Then you calculate the size of the world population next year by the following formula:

sn * 1.01 = sn+1

The population a year after would be calculated by:

sn * 1.01 * 1.01 = sn+2

The population in the year x after the year we start is:

sn * 1.01= sn+x

So how many years does it take at such a reproduction rate to get a global population of 500 billion when we start with 6 billion?

6 * 1.01= 500

1.01x = 83

x * ln 1.01 = ln 83

x = ln 83 / ln 1.01

x = 444

Already in 444 years we would have a population of 500 billion. The human mind didn't really evolve to grasp exponential functions for which reason a lot of people have problems with interest. It's not only disadvantageous to us in the modern business world that we don't directly the the effects on interest on interest but also when faced by the actual growth rates of biological systems.

If we would now take the current factor of annual enlargement (1.2%) we would already reach 500 billion in 371 years. And if we take the reproduction rate of the golden 60s (2.1%) we would reach 500 billion in 212 years.

 

 

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Vastet wrote:I have yet to

Vastet wrote:

I have yet to see a credible argument that shows overpopulation is a concern for our species. As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today. That we are about to expand off of Earth and into our solar system relegates concerns down to nothingness.

I'm gonna call you out on this one. How soon do you expect us to leave earth for another planet?

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Vastet
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spike.barnett wrote:Vastet

spike.barnett wrote:

Vastet wrote:

I have yet to see a credible argument that shows overpopulation is a concern for our species. As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today. That we are about to expand off of Earth and into our solar system relegates concerns down to nothingness.

I'm gonna call you out on this one. How soon do you expect us to leave earth for another planet?

If you mean literally abandon the planet, I'd figure that won't happen until Sol swallows it or makes it otherwise uninhabitable. Barring a black hole or other phenomena. And our own extinction.

If you simply mean spread out to colonize, I'd say 50 to 100 years.

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TonyZXT wrote:This just

TonyZXT wrote:

This just brings a ton of questions to mind. 

Do we need to tax the planet's resources like that?

No.

Quote:
How many people can the planet actually sustain?

Depends.

Quote:
How can we go on growing without driving out all the species that we have left?

Can't.

Quote:
What should we do about it?

Stop.

Quote:
Why is it such a taboo subject that the media ignores it?

Hitler.

Quote:
What would the Humanist/Atheist approach to this problem be?

Education.

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Vastet wrote:I have yet to

Vastet wrote:

I have yet to see a credible argument that shows overpopulation is a concern for our species. As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today. That we are about to expand off of Earth and into our solar system relegates concerns down to nothingness.

Maximum world growth rate in the last 100 years is just over 2%. Do you think a world space program with 5 to 10 billion (1-2% growth on 500 billion) people leaving the planet every year is feasible??

Fortunately world population looks set to level off somewhere around 10 billion around the middle of this century.

By many estimates this still significantly above the long term sustainability level, and the impact of climate change is likely to reduce the food production capacity of the planet, so it seems we do have a problem.

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Vastet wrote:I have yet to

Vastet wrote:

I have yet to see a credible argument that shows overpopulation is a concern for our species. As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today. That we are about to expand off of Earth and into our solar system relegates concerns down to nothingness.

Ever heard of Malthus?

What you are saying is the equivalent of: "I have yet to see a credible argument that shows that my brain cancer is a concern for me. As a collection of cells, a tumor could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living in my brain in relatively similar conditions to today. That I am about to have a baby and send him off to college relegates my concern for my own well-being to nothingness."

The danger of human over-population boils down to mass extinction, followed by ecological collapse. We're talking gigadeaths here.

Going off into space won't save the remaining people down in the gravity well.

And, sustainable ecosystems in space is a more difficult problem than sustainable ecosystems on Earth. If we can solve the former, we've already solved the latter. So let's try to solve the latter first -- it's a pre-requisite to the former anyway.

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Overpopulation

When I was young I watched Star Trek and was very optomistic about our future.  Over the years I grew less so.  Unless we come up with some incredible new technology soon we will not be going very far into space.  The Earths resources are finite.  They are already under stress and soon we will be reaching a point of no return.  Most people believe in a magician who is going to step in and make everything OK, maybe after giving us a good scare.  Well its not going to happen.  We are like someone dying of heat stroke and 1 blanket per minute is being layed on us.  The best any government has proposed is to only add 1 blanket every 90 seconds.  No one is proposing to reduce greenhouse gasses.  Only to slow the rate 0f increase.

That is only one aspect of overpopulation.  Over a billion people live on less than a dollar a day.  Some call them developing countries.  Its not going to happen.  I think the difference between animals and humans is that we know sex causes babies, and we can use birth control or even abstain,  But people will not do either.  In the US, in 2007 there were over 4 million babies born.  More than any other year in history.

WE are going to see mega-famines like never before.  We are going to see wars that will kill many times the wars of the twentieth century.

Some fools moan about abortion and birth control as being against god's will.  can you inagine how they will rant about some government telling them how many kids they can have.  China did a noble experiment but people aborted females in favor of males.  Mistake, Now there is a shortage of women and China is begining to eye its neighbors with lust.

What can be done?  My wife and I decided to have one child.  Good luck trying to get a mormon to do that.  We live in interesting times.


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BobSpence1 wrote:Maximum

BobSpence1 wrote:

Maximum world growth rate in the last 100 years is just over 2%. Do you think a world space program with 5 to 10 billion (1-2% growth on 500 billion) people leaving the planet every year is feasible??

I don't happen to think it's an issue one way or the other. I certainly don't see a need to export billions of people a year. The only real thing preventing exponential expansion is dependence on oil and mineral resources. I don't think we'll be dependent on oil for much longer, and the solar system is rife with minerals.

If we are still fully dependent on oil in a hundred years, overpopulation is the least of our problems.

BobSpence1 wrote:

Fortunately world population looks set to level off somewhere around 10 billion around the middle of this century.

By many estimates this still significantly above the long term sustainability level, and the impact of climate change is likely to reduce the food production capacity of the planet, so it seems we do have a problem.

And what exactly are your sustainability levels based upon? I'd like to peruse them myself. Climate change impact on food can be completely nullified by hydroponic growth of food resources.

natural wrote:

Ever heard of Malthus?

What you are saying is the equivalent of: "I have yet to see a credible argument that shows that my brain cancer is a concern for me. As a collection of cells, a tumor could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living in my brain in relatively similar conditions to today. That I am about to have a baby and send him off to college relegates my concern for my own well-being to nothingness."

That's not even remotely close to what I'm saying. I'm saying you haven't shown me that I have cancer in the first place.

natural wrote:

 The danger of human over-population boils down to mass extinction, followed by ecological collapse. We're talking gigadeaths here.

We have a long way to go before we're overpopulated. And with proper management of space, the Earth can sustain exponentially larger amounts of humans than it currently does. As I said before, oil and mineral resources are the only real inhibitor. Power can be generated by so many different means already that it will never become a true issue unless we as a species make it one.

natural wrote:

Going off into space won't save the remaining people down in the gravity well.

And, sustainable ecosystems in space is a more difficult problem than sustainable ecosystems on Earth. If we can solve the former, we've already solved the latter. So let's try to solve the latter first -- it's a pre-requisite to the former anyway.

How do you think that attempting to create an ecosystem cannot help us understand them better in the first place? Space or another planet are the perfect places to muddle around. We can't harm life on Earth by doing so, but we can still learn and improve our methods.

 

Dracos, I agree that we are at a dangerous level, but I disagree that we are beyond the line in the sand. We still have the capacity for space travel, and will for some time yet. As long as it is advanced quickly enough, the solar system contains more than enough resources to last for multiple generations. Our societal problems are similarly fixable, as long as we start managing things properly. Ridding the world of irrational things like theism bring us closer to attaining it, in my opinion.

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Vastet wrote:As a species,

Vastet wrote:

As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today.

Not true at all.

 

Vastet wrote:

That we are about to expand off of Earth and into our solar system relegates concerns down to nothingness.

Baseless conjecture.

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Quote:As a species, we could

Quote:

As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today.

Even if every inch of land was habitable, that would amount to 3375 people/km2! And that's just considering the tremendous amount of living space that would be required to say nothing of a necessarily tremendously expanded regions devoted to industry and agriculture. And it isn't considering the utterly tremendous amount of waste such a vast human population would generate, the resulting ecosystem destruction which would consequently make more land uninhabitable (thus increasing population density), the amount of freshwater. Even with a population of 6 billion today the sheer damage we are wreaking is tremendous. Even if there were some massive technological revolution allowing us to basically redevelop our entire system and do absolutely anything in terms of energy and industrial production with no pollution, there simply aren't enough raw materials on the planet to sustain the existence of 500 billion people. Unless you want every square inch of land on this planet to resemble Wan Chai, it is not physically possible to sustain the existence of half a trillion on Earth.

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Vastet wrote:natural

Vastet wrote:

natural wrote:

Ever heard of Malthus?

What you are saying is the equivalent of: "I have yet to see a credible argument that shows that my brain cancer is a concern for me. As a collection of cells, a tumor could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living in my brain in relatively similar conditions to today. That I am about to have a baby and send him off to college relegates my concern for my own well-being to nothingness."

That's not even remotely close to what I'm saying. I'm saying you haven't shown me that I have cancer in the first place.

Well, I guess you haven't heard of Malthus then.

Cancer is merely unregulated growth. We are currently experiencing unregulated growth. Hence the metaphor holds. Unregulated growth leads to resource exhaustion, which leads to massive die-off. Malthus. We are the cancer.

Quote:
natural wrote:

 The danger of human over-population boils down to mass extinction, followed by ecological collapse. We're talking gigadeaths here.

We have a long way to go before we're overpopulated. And with proper management of space, the Earth can sustain exponentially larger amounts of humans than it currently does.

See, I really don't think you understand the point. The point is mass extinction and ecological collapse. You are assuming that humans can live without other organisms such as animals and plants, especially zooplankton, and algae. If these die off, the Earth could not even sustain 1 human, let alone billions.

Human populations displace other organisms which leads to mass extinction. We are *already* in a period of massive extinctions (known as the Holocene), on par with the mass extinctions of the past, such as the Cretaceous, the Permian, etc. Too many extinctions leads to ecological collapse, which means the whole ecosystem dies. Enough ecosystems die, and humans will die with them. All that will be left are the most primitive forms which are incapable of sustaining human population.

The only way humans could survive in such an environment would be to supply their own sustainable self-contained environment, which is the same problem as a space-ecosystem. However, you're still talking about gigadeaths. That's not a viable solution.

Quote:
natural wrote:

Going off into space won't save the remaining people down in the gravity well.

And, sustainable ecosystems in space is a more difficult problem than sustainable ecosystems on Earth. If we can solve the former, we've already solved the latter. So let's try to solve the latter first -- it's a pre-requisite to the former anyway.

How do you think that attempting to create an ecosystem cannot help us understand them better in the first place?

I didn't say that. You're putting words in my mouth. I said that if A is where we are now, and C is sustainable space ecosystems, then to get from A to C requires us to pass through B, which is sustainable Earth ecosystems. So, don't put all your eggs in the C basket, we should focus on the B basket as the primary solution to overpopulation on Earth. We didn't get from vacuum tubes straight to integrated chips. We had to pass through the transistor phase first.

I am pro-solarsystem-colonization. However, it is not a solution to overpopulation on Earth. We still need to solve that problem first, and solar system colonization tech is not a short-cut in any way.

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Vastet wrote:I have yet to

Vastet wrote:

I have yet to see a credible argument that shows overpopulation is a concern for our species. As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today. That we are about to expand off of Earth and into our solar system relegates concerns down to nothingness.

It is no threat to the earth if we can get all our shit in order. I don't think we would all die even if we diddn't, just the 3rd world as usual. It  is possible to feed all the people in the world right now and with all GM crops I would say we could do double without futher advancment. (wild guess) First we would have to get off fossil fuels though, Better farming techniques as the fertilizers we currently use well they damage the soil and make it less fertile. All of this is irrelavant though because populations are self regulating. Name one first world country that is in danger of over population. As peoples life expectancy and standard of living goes up their birth rate goes down. I would predict even in a country like india this will happen.

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Vastet
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Jormungander wrote:Vastet

Jormungander wrote:

Vastet wrote:

As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today.

Not true at all.

On the contrary, it is very true. It is even an understatement. We could have hundreds of TRILLIONS of people.

Jormungander wrote:
 

Vastet wrote:

That we are about to expand off of Earth and into our solar system relegates concerns down to nothingness.

Baseless conjecture.

Baseless conjecture my left testical. Invalid response.

deludedgod wrote:
Even if every inch of land was habitable, that would amount to 3375 people/km2!

Not even a factor. Why are you people thinking in 2 dimensional terms anyway? We could take as much room as we currently do a billion times over and still have more space available than we'd know what to do with.

The vast majority of the damage we cause the ecosystem is damage we could stop or reverse if we had a mind to. When it becomes a sufficient pressure to adapt to, we will adapt to it. Or we will die. Overpopulation will not be an issue.

natural wrote:

Well, I guess you haven't heard of Malthus then.

That's besides the point. You still haven't shown me the cancer. Until you do, your metaphor is irrelevant.

natural wrote:

Cancer is merely unregulated growth.

We aren't seeing unregulated growth, for one thing. For another, the cancer only becomes a threat when it encounters a vital organ or the like. A cancer on the skin, for example, can grow forever and never cause a threat to the life that sustains it.

You're simply going to have to choose a better example.

natural wrote:
 We are currently experiencing unregulated growth.

No, we aren't. Our growth is currently highly regulated by disease, famine, and war. And various government policies.

 

natural wrote:
Hence the metaphor holds.

Hence it does not.

natural wrote:
Unregulated growth leads to resource exhaustion, which leads to massive die-off. Malthus. We are the cancer.

As I mentioned more than once, we only have one natural resource that is in true peril, and we are on the verge of substituting it en masse. You're going to have to do better.

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Why did you ignore the rest

Why did you ignore the rest of my post? Can't answer it?

We *are* experiencing unregulated growth. The growth rate is currently greater than 1%, and we've been growing steadily since the Black Death around 1400. We are especially seeing growth in the poorest countries, which is where there should be the least growth if growth were really being regulated.

You continue to claim (falsely) that there's only one resource we need (i.e. energy), and you completely ignore the ecology aspect.

If you had double the energy available now, and no algae (hence no oxygen), all humans would die.

Energy does not solve growth, in fact it fuels it.

Relying on war, famine, and disease for 'regulation' is not a 'solution' to population.

Heck, let's just start WWIII, and we can easily 'regulate' our population.

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natural wrote:Why did you

natural wrote:

Why did you ignore the rest of my post? Can't answer it?

Actually, I hadn't seen it. The PC I'm on must have cut part of your post out, or you added to it after I'd quoted you. I'll deal with it now.

natural wrote:

See, I really don't think you understand the point.


I don't think you do either.

natural wrote:

 The point is mass extinction and ecological collapse. You are assuming that humans can live without other organisms such as animals and plants, especially zooplankton, and algae. If these die off, the Earth could not even sustain 1 human, let alone billions.

No, I'm not. You just keep popping up strawmen that have nothing to do with reality.

natural wrote:

Human populations displace other organisms which leads to mass extinction.

Not if we manage ourselves properly.

natural wrote:
 We are *already* in a period of massive extinctions (known as the Holocene), on par with the mass extinctions of the past, such as the Cretaceous, the Permian, etc.

I don't disagree. I also say it is irrelevant. You're going to have to prove that we are incapable of halting our own destructive agendas in order for your points to make any logical sense.

natural wrote:
Too many extinctions leads to ecological collapse, which means the whole ecosystem dies. Enough ecosystems die, and humans will die with them. All that will be left are the most primitive forms which are incapable of sustaining human population.

The only way humans could survive in such an environment would be to supply their own sustainable self-contained environment, which is the same problem as a space-ecosystem. However, you're still talking about gigadeaths. That's not a viable solution.

And you are thinking in two dimensional terms. When you break through into the third and fourth, let me know.

natural wrote:

I didn't say that. You're putting words in my mouth.

You may not have said it, but you implied it. I put nothing in your mouth. Be more specific next time.

natural wrote:
I said that if A is where we are now, and C is sustainable space ecosystems, then to get from A to C requires us to pass through B, which is sustainable Earth ecosystems.

To which I pointed out that studying C would help us understand A and B, to which you have failed to refute me.

natural wrote:
So, don't put all your eggs in the C basket, we should focus on the B basket as the primary solution to overpopulation on Earth.

Now who's putting words in who's mouth? I never said to put all of our efforts in C, I said to put some efforts, as it would add to our comprehension of A and B. You still haven't successfully argued against this fact.

natural wrote:
 We didn't get from vacuum tubes straight to integrated chips. We had to pass through the transistor phase first.

The process would have been sped up if we'd had integrated chips around to study, now wouldn't it? Your logic is extremely lacking here.

natural wrote:

I am pro-solarsystem-colonization. However, it is not a solution to overpopulation on Earth. We still need to solve that problem first, and solar system colonization tech is not a short-cut in any way.

There is no problem to solve.

natural wrote:

We *are* experiencing unregulated growth.

No, we aren't.

natural wrote:
 The growth rate is currently greater than 1%, and we've been growing steadily since the Black Death around 1400.

That does not mean we are facing unregulated growth. It means we are facing growth.

natural wrote:
We are especially seeing growth in the poorest countries, which is where there should be the least growth if growth were really being regulated.

Just means people are fucking more often than dying. It does not mean our growth is unregulated. If it were, we'd have already gone extinct from overpopulation.

natural wrote:

You continue to claim (falsely) that there's only one resource we need (i.e. energy), and you completely ignore the ecology aspect.

You continue to ignore the third dimension, which removes the ecology from the debate, and therefore keep tying yourself into knots that go nowhere.

natural wrote:

If you had double the energy available now, and no algae (hence no oxygen), all humans would die.

And what if we had a million times the energy with just as much algae as we have, or more?

natural wrote:

Energy does not solve growth, in fact it fuels it.

It solves it too. You obviously haven't given the topic its due consideration.

natural wrote:

Relying on war, famine, and disease for 'regulation' is not a 'solution' to population.

I didn't say it was. I said it is regulating our population. Nothing you've said proves otherwise. I stand on my points.

natural wrote:
Heck, let's just start WWIII, and we can easily 'regulate' our population.

One could argue that WWIII has been in progress for some time now. Though that's not the point.

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Overpopulation

First of all Tapey,  I love your picture.  Are you being tazered or is someone shooting you with a paint ball gun?  You are correct in saying that human population is no threat to the Earth.  What?  Really, the Earth will go on orbiting merrily about our star no matter what we do.  We are well on our way,  however,  to destroying the biosphere.  No problem for the Earth,  It will grow a new one in a few thousand or a million years, as it has done in the past.

Vastet, your optimisim is to be commended.  It is true that we are in the process of weaning ourselves from fossil fuels.  But only because we are running out.  Space exploration and colonization, great.  But how?  It takes 10,000 dollars to put one pound [.5 kilo] into low Earth orbit.  Saturn's moon, Titan is covered with hydrocarbons but there is no way to harvest it at a reasonable cost.  Nuclear powered spaceflight?  Not yet, maybe never.  Wind energy, geothermal, solar power,and fusion are a long way off.  I know except for fusion we already have some small scale alternative energy, but not nearly enough.

I am reminded of a political cartoon that came out in the 1800's.  A man comes up to a railroad track and sees people laying on the track with their heads on the rails.  A great many people.  On the horizon a train is approaching.  He tries to warn them but they all ignore him.  Optomists.


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You are adding in additional

You are adding in additional assumptions that the OP was not talking about. You are assuming that we can come up with a sustainable ecology *before* our current population growth causes serious problems. The OP was asking about the *current* serious problems, and how we can manage population growth before we get the tech.

The problem with your argument is you're basically saying, "Assuming we can solve all these technical problems with new technology we don't yet have and can't really see on the near horizon, well, heck, I just don't see what the problem is!"

Of course, if we had the right tech, most of our problems would be solved. However, we *don't* have the tech.

And besides, even if we had the tech to harness as much energy as we could, that still doesn't stop the destructive effects of uncontrolled growth. We would basically become all-consuming space bacteria. This is a future we should avoid, as it will lead to enormous suffering. We need to be able to grow sustainably and peacefully, without generating more suffering than is unavoidable.

So, it is not strictly about tech, there also needs to be a cultural change so that we regulate our growth.

An example: There's a human cell line that has become a malignant infection of lab cultures. Essentially some woman years ago (don't remember her name) had a tissue sample taken from her and grown in a lab petri dish. Well, the tissue reverted to an amoebic-like state where it started to grow uncontrollably, and took on a life of its own. It spread from petri dish to petri dish through contamination.

And now, even though the original woman is long dead, this cell line goes on living, and is several times her original body mass. Despite efforts to control it, this aggressive cell line persists to this day.

Now, our situation here is that we run the risk of becoming like this malignant cell line, spreading and multiplying indefinitely.

The problem is that there's only so much space and only so much energy. Eventually, we will run out of space and energy and conflict will start again. But *this* time, there will be trillions and quadrillions of humans, instead of mere billions. Massive war and conflict would be the result. Immense suffering.

And all because we didn't solve the problem of unregulated growth.

An embryo growing into a human adult is regulated growth. It grows to a certain size, and then stops itself. A cancer cell or a malignant cell line is unregulated growth. It grows and grows until it consumes all resources available.

Watch Akira. Tetsuo can't control his own growth and ends up killing Kaori.

Quote:
natural wrote:

 The point is mass extinction and ecological collapse. You are assuming that humans can live without other organisms such as animals and plants, especially zooplankton, and algae. If these die off, the Earth could not even sustain 1 human, let alone billions.

No, I'm not. You just keep popping up strawmen that have nothing to do with reality.

Mass extinction is already a reality. You have not addressed the ecological concern. You assume we will get the tech to support sustainable enclosed ecosystems *before* mass extinction causes a problem. This is an unjustifiable assumption on your part.

Quote:
natural wrote:

Human populations displace other organisms which leads to mass extinction.

Not if we manage ourselves properly.

Correction: *Assuming* we manage ourselves properly before massive human die-off.

This is a bad assumption. We are *currently* killing off thousands of species per year. The OP was talking about 'What if this trend continues?' You are pulling out your magic tech wand and saying, "It won't continue. There is no problem." You are simply blind to an *existing* problem that will only get worse unless we do something to change the culture.

Quote:
natural wrote:
 We are *already* in a period of massive extinctions (known as the Holocene), on par with the mass extinctions of the past, such as the Cretaceous, the Permian, etc.

I don't disagree. I also say it is irrelevant. You're going to have to prove that we are incapable of halting our own destructive agendas in order for your points to make any logical sense.

No, I only have to show that we need to change our destruction *before* it's too late and the damage is done irreversibly. Considering that the problem already exists, this is a no brainer. You're just hiding your head in the sand.

Quote:
natural wrote:
Too many extinctions leads to ecological collapse, which means the whole ecosystem dies. Enough ecosystems die, and humans will die with them. All that will be left are the most primitive forms which are incapable of sustaining human population.

The only way humans could survive in such an environment would be to supply their own sustainable self-contained environment, which is the same problem as a space-ecosystem. However, you're still talking about gigadeaths. That's not a viable solution.

And you are thinking in two dimensional terms. When you break through into the third and fourth, let me know.

You are assuming we can escape Earth before ecological collapse. This is a massive and unjustified assumption.

As long as a large number of humans are stuck on Earth, it is a two dimensional problem, as the surface of the Earth is limited to two dimensions.

If you are talking about sky scrapers or something, then you are more naive than I thought.

Quote:
natural wrote:

I didn't say that. You're putting words in my mouth.

You may not have said it, but you implied it. I put nothing in your mouth. Be more specific next time.

No I did not imply it. Be less presumptuous next time.

Quote:
natural wrote:
I said that if A is where we are now, and C is sustainable space ecosystems, then to get from A to C requires us to pass through B, which is sustainable Earth ecosystems.

To which I pointed out that studying C would help us understand A and B, to which you have failed to refute me.

I don't have to refute you. You just conceded that B comes before C. It is B we need to accomplish to fend off ecological disaster. My point stands. B is higher priority. B must come before C in time. That's all I need to establish.

Quote:
natural wrote:
 We didn't get from vacuum tubes straight to integrated chips. We had to pass through the transistor phase first.

The process would have been sped up if we'd had integrated chips around to study, now wouldn't it? Your logic is extremely lacking here.

But we didn't have ICs, just like we don't have sustainable space ecology tech. In fact, it's the other way around. Achieving transistors first allowed more complex computers, which allowed semi-conductors to be better understood, which allowed the miniaturization of transistors, which finally allowed ICs. The more primitive step was a pre-requisite to the more advanced step. Sustainable Earth-bound ecology tech is a pre-requisite to sustainable space ecology tech.

Quote:
There is no problem to solve.

Your head is in the sand.

Quote:
natural wrote:

We *are* experiencing unregulated growth.

No, we aren't.

Yes we are. Nyah nyah nyah.

Quote:


natural wrote:
We are especially seeing growth in the poorest countries, which is where there should be the least growth if growth were really being regulated.

Just means people are fucking more often than dying. It does not mean our growth is unregulated. If it were, we'd have already gone extinct from overpopulation.

You misunderstand unregulated growth. It does not mean 'really fast growth', it means 'growth that does not have any way to stop except exhaustion of resources'. Even if the growth rate were 0.001% it would still be unsustainable. It would just take longer to hit the limit.

A 1 percent growth rate means population doubles in approx. 70 years. Unregulated growth means that continues until resources are exhausted. Some of our resources are themselves living biospheres, which can also be killed off. We are *already* killing off species at an unsustainable rate (100 times the background extinction rate; arguably faster than other mass exinctions of the past). It's a recipe for gigadeath.

Quote:
natural wrote:

If you had double the energy available now, and no algae (hence no oxygen), all humans would die.

And what if we had a million times the energy with just as much algae as we have, or more?

Then you may be able to get some humans in space, but you would still have gigadeath down in the gravity well. And eventually, humans would grow to consume all that energy anyway. At most you would be delaying the problem.

Quote:
natural wrote:

Energy does not solve growth, in fact it fuels it.

It solves it too. You obviously haven't given the topic its due consideration.

Sorry, it's clear I've given it far more thought than you.

The ultimate resource cap is the speed of light, which ensures that we cannot colonize the universe faster than a cubic rate. However, any form of unregulated growth will always be exponential. And, if you knew anything about growth curves, you would know that exponential always overtakes polynomial, given enough time. You will always exhaust resources if you do not regulate growth.

Even if you could colonize space at the speed of light, and collect all the energy available at 100% efficiency, you would still run into resource conflicts eventually with unregulated growth.

Like I said. Clearly you don't understand Malthus.

Quote:
natural wrote:

Relying on war, famine, and disease for 'regulation' is not a 'solution' to population.

I didn't say it was. I said it is regulating our population.

It is not regulating our population. In fact, war and famine are a result of a *lack* of regulation, which manifests as resource conflicts. Back to biology 101 for you.

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Dracos wrote:Vastet, your

Dracos wrote:

Vastet, your optimisim is to be commended.  It is true that we are in the process of weaning ourselves from fossil fuels.  But only because we are running out.

I grant this unconditionally.

Dracos wrote:
  Space exploration and colonization, great.  But how?  It takes 10,000 dollars to put one pound [.5 kilo] into low Earth orbit.

Costs go down as efficiency increases and technology is expanded upon, as well as increases in demand. It is the same with all technology. Exhorbitantly expensive upon release, but with more consumers and greater manufacturing efficiency comes lower cost. We currently have a mere handful of launch locations capable of putting something into orbit, and all of them use chemical propulsion. This is not necessarily the only means of achieving orbit.

Dracos wrote:

  Saturn's moon, Titan is covered with hydrocarbons but there is no way to harvest it at a reasonable cost.

For now, but not necessarily forever. Though I am thinking asteroids and comets are a better source of resources given our infancy in space flight. There's more than enough of them, and many of them are much closer than Saturn. There's a lot less gravity to contend with for a re-launch, making it much cheaper.

Dracos wrote:
  Nuclear powered spaceflight?  Not yet, maybe never.

It is debateable whether nuclear power would be the best energy source to utilize.

Dracos wrote:
  Wind energy, geothermal, solar power,and fusion are a long way off.

We already have wind energy sources. More work needs to be done on them though in many respects.

As far as solar goes, we've got that too. We increase the efficiency of solar panels every year that goes by as well.

I'm not sure how far in the future it would be before a geothermal energy capturing system would come to be. Same goes with fusion. Maybe never. But it doesn't matter, solar energy is more than sufficient.

 

Dracos wrote:
I know except for fusion we already have some small scale alternative energy, but not nearly enough.

I am reminded of a political cartoon that came out in the 1800's.  A man comes up to a railroad track and sees people laying on the track with their heads on the rails.  A great many people.  On the horizon a train is approaching.  He tries to warn them but they all ignore him.  Optomists.

lol.

 

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Quote:Not even a factor. Why

Quote:

Not even a factor. Why are you people thinking in 2 dimensional terms anyway? We could take as much room as we currently do a billion times over and still have more space available than we'd know what to do with.

What do you mean "two dimensional terms"? A surface is a 2 dimensional construct, so yeah, of course. Please address the point with some actual specificity instead of the vapid response "Not even a factor". It is a factor! That's a tremendous population density. In fact, that's an insane population density. Ever heard of Malthus? For a K-selected population at high density, the proliferation of disease will increase drastically. It wouldn't be possible to get the population density that high, anyway, for that reason. Like all limiting factors for K-selected populations, density-dependant factors become more limiting as population increases.

Why do you keep making ridiculous assertions and then not backing them up, such as "we could take as much room as we currently do a billion times over and still have more space available than we'd know what to do with"? I'm a little unsure how to interpret this. Are you actually suggesting that with one billionth the space we have now, we'd still have more than we now what to do with?  For a K-selected species like H. sapiens, density will be a growth-limiting factor. We could never get the human population on Earth to 500 billion anyway for that reason.

I refuse to talk to you again until you read a textbook on population biology and biostatistics. Read this entire textbook:

http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521825375

Or I refuse to continue this conversation

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Dracos wrote:Vastet, your

Dracos wrote:

Vastet, your optimisim is to be commended.  It is true that we are in the process of weaning ourselves from fossil fuels.  But only because we are running out.  Space exploration and colonization, great.  But how?

Colonizing space is not hard. All you need is a sustainable ecosystem that can survive in space. Once you've got that, space colonization will happen pretty much automatically. There is a *huge* amount of energy in space, due to solar radiation. Space colonization will basically pay for itself.

However, the problem with Vastet's argument is that he assumes we will get this sustainable ecosystem technology very soon, before serious ecological damage is done, and before it causes human catastrophe. The other problem with his argument is that, even if we *do* get this technology, there will *still* be billions of people stuck on Earth who will have to live with whatever mess the space colonizers leave behind. If that means they are stuck with a collapsing biosphere, then you still have billions of deaths, so the colonists have merely escaped hell, they haven't prevented it.

Space colonization is a worthy goal, but it is *not* a solution to over-population on Earth.

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Dracos wrote:First of all

Dracos wrote:

First of all Tapey,  I love your picture.  Are you being tazered or is someone shooting you with a paint ball gun?  You are correct in saying that human population is no threat to the Earth.  What?  Really, the Earth will go on orbiting merrily about our star no matter what we do.  We are well on our way,  however,  to destroying the biosphere.  No problem for the Earth,  It will grow a new one in a few thousand or a million years, as it has done in the past.

Vastet, your optimisim is to be commended.  It is true that we are in the process of weaning ourselves from fossil fuels.  But only because we are running out.  Space exploration and colonization, great.  But how?  It takes 10,000 dollars to put one pound [.5 kilo] into low Earth orbit.  Saturn's moon, Titan is covered with hydrocarbons but there is no way to harvest it at a reasonable cost.  Nuclear powered spaceflight?  Not yet, maybe never.  Wind energy, geothermal, solar power,and fusion are a long way off.  I know except for fusion we already have some small scale alternative energy, but not nearly enough.

I am reminded of a political cartoon that came out in the 1800's.  A man comes up to a railroad track and sees people laying on the track with their heads on the rails.  A great many people.  On the horizon a train is approaching.  He tries to warn them but they all ignore him.  Optomists.

Lol it's Jacob Zuma dancing (my future president....hopefully not though)

No i am merely saying If correctly managed it is no problem, If it isn't then it is really only a huge problem for the 3rd world. 1st world counties are really in no danger of overpopulation. Look at population models/pyrimads for first world countries. Most are in the fourth stage with slowly increasing populations however some have moved onto the fifth stage with decreasing then incresing populations averaging out at no growth. Don't get me wrong there are a hell of a lot of work we would have to do across the board for 3rd world counties to be ok but with there current economies they probably wouldn't be. Still that isn't the end of humanity.

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 Deludedgod wrote:Why do

 

Deludedgod wrote:
Why do you keep making ridiculous assertions and then not backing them up, such as "we could take as much room as we currently do a billion times over and still have more space available than we'd know what to do with"? I'm a little unsure how to interpret this. Are you actually suggesting that with one billionth the space we have now, we'd still have more than we now what to do with?  For a K-selected species like H. Sapiens, density will be a growth-limiting factor. We could never get the human population on Earth to 500 billion anyway for that reason.

I wonder, Vastet... do you know what a K-selected species is?

 

 

 

In all honesty, Vastet, you are in way over your head on this one.  You should get out while you can.

 

 

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natural wrote:You are adding

natural wrote:

You are adding in additional assumptions that the OP was not talking about. You are assuming that we can come up with a sustainable ecology *before* our current population growth causes serious problems.

I'm assuming nothing. I know we can. The only question is whether or not we will.

natural wrote:
 The OP was asking about the *current* serious problems, and how we can manage population growth before we get the tech.

And you have failed to refute anything I've stated regarding it.

natural wrote:

The problem with your argument is you're basically saying, "Assuming we can solve all these technical problems with new technology we don't yet have and can't really see on the near horizon, well, heck, I just don't see what the problem is!"

I'm not saying anything of the kind. We already have the technology to save ourselves on Earth. As for space flight, you are assuming that we will not gain technology despite persuing it. And I'm the one who's mistaken? Try again.

natural wrote:

Of course, if we had the right tech, most of our problems would be solved. However, we *don't* have the tech.

Lies. We've had the right tech to replace gasoline powered motor vehicles for decades. It still hasn't been done. Why? Because there's been little need to make the transition. That does not preclude the possibility of the transition. This is merely one example out of millions of examples or the failure of this particular argument.

natural wrote:

And besides, even if we had the tech to harness as much energy as we could, that still doesn't stop the destructive effects of uncontrolled growth.

The third dimension does that. You continue to ignore it. Are you becoming a theist?

natural wrote:

 We would basically become all-consuming space bacteria. This is a future we should avoid, as it will lead to enormous suffering. We need to be able to grow sustainably and peacefully, without generating more suffering than is unavoidable.

And yet again, you still haven't proven your assertions in the face of mine.

natural wrote:

So, it is not strictly about tech, there also needs to be a cultural change so that we regulate our growth.

Aha, some meat. Something I can even agree with. Perhaps you were assuming that I thought we could continue with our current methods and retain sustainability in the face of excess additions to our population? Let me assure you this is not the case.

natural wrote:

An example: There's a human cell line that has become a malignant infection of lab cultures. Essentially some woman years ago (don't remember her name) had a tissue sample taken from her and grown in a lab petri dish. Well, the tissue reverted to an amoebic-like state where it started to grow uncontrollably, and took on a life of its own. It spread from petri dish to petri dish through contamination.

And now, even though the original woman is long dead, this cell line goes on living, and is several times her original body mass. Despite efforts to control it, this aggressive cell line persists to this day.

Now, our situation here is that we run the risk of becoming like this malignant cell line, spreading and multiplying indefinitely.

I couldn't disagree more, unless we continue haphazardly and without restraint. Doing so is impossible, as pressures will destroy us if we ignore them. Long before overpopulation would become a concern.

natural wrote:

The problem is that there's only so much space and only so much energy.

There is trillions of times as much space as you give credit for. Perhaps whatever comes after trillions. Quadrillions maybe?

natural wrote:
Eventually, we will run out of space and energy and conflict will start again.

That is inevitable regardless of what we do. Entropy.

natural wrote:
But *this* time, there will be trillions and quadrillions of humans, instead of mere billions. Massive war and conflict would be the result. Immense suffering.

And all because we didn't solve the problem of unregulated growth.

The problems you envision will ocurr no matter our population. It is simply a matter of time. Getting off of Earth can extend it, but nothing can stop it. Save perhaps the gaining of knowledge on how to create a universe. But that is wild speculation.

natural wrote:

An embryo growing into a human adult is regulated growth. It grows to a certain size, and then stops itself. A cancer cell or a malignant cell line is unregulated growth. It grows and grows until it consumes all resources available.

Again, you have yet to counter my examples showing that human population growth is regulated.

natural wrote:

Watch Akira. Tetsuo can't control his own growth and ends up killing Kaori.

I don't think I need to watch an anime for the purposes of this conversation.

natural wrote:

Mass extinction is already a reality.

I already agreed with you on this point. Bringing it up again is pointless.

natural wrote:
 You have not addressed the ecological concern.

You have not addressed my response to your fictional ecological concern: The third dimension.

natural wrote:
You assume we will get the tech to support sustainable enclosed ecosystems *before* mass extinction causes a problem. This is an unjustifiable assumption on your part.

Strawman.

natural wrote:

Correction: *Assuming* we manage ourselves properly before massive human die-off.

If we don't, then we die. End of story.

natural wrote:

This is a bad assumption.

Hardly.

 

natural wrote:
We are *currently* killing off thousands of species per year.

Again, we've already agreed on this.

natural wrote:
The OP was talking about 'What if this trend continues?'

We have gone far beyond the constraints of the OP. My response to the OP was short and simple, and stands unrefuted. We are now discussing your concerns.

natural wrote:
 You are pulling out your magic tech wand and saying, "It won't continue. There is no problem." You are simply blind to an *existing* problem that will only get worse unless we do something to change the culture.

Strawman 2.

natural wrote:
 We are *already* in a period of massive extinctions (known as the Holocene), on par with the mass extinctions of the past, such as the Cretaceous, the Permian, etc.

I thought we'd blown them away. Meh.

natural wrote:

No, I only have to show that we need to change our destruction *before* it's too late and the damage is done irreversibly. Considering that the problem already exists, this is a no brainer. You're just hiding your head in the sand.

A bald faced lie.

natural wrote:
You are assuming we can escape Earth before ecological collapse. This is a massive and unjustified assumption.

Strawman 3.

natural wrote:

As long as a large number of humans are stuck on Earth, it is a two dimensional problem, as the surface of the Earth is limited to two dimensions.

Just because the surface is two dimensional does not mean we must also be. In fact, we aren't. Look who's head is really in the sand.

natural wrote:

If you are talking about sky scrapers or something, then you are more naive than I thought.

Skyscrapers are merely one of two directions we can build in. And you are the one who is naive.

natural wrote:

No I did not imply it. Be less presumptuous next time.

Yes, you did imply it. You proved it with the continuation of this line of thought. 

natural wrote:

I don't have to refute you.

Yes, you do.

natural wrote:
 You just conceded that B comes before C. It is B we need to accomplish to fend off ecological disaster. My point stands. B is higher priority. B must come before C in time. That's all I need to establish.

You again fail to refute that a better understanding of C allows for a better understanding of A and B.

natural wrote:

But we didn't have ICs

Thank you for conceding my point and destroying your own argument. I'll leave the rest of this particular line of discussion alone, as there's nothing left to deal with.

natural wrote:
Your head is in the sand.

Says the pot to the kettle.

natural wrote:

Yes we are. Nyah nyah nyah.

No, we aren't. Nya nya nya nya nya. Sticking out tongue

natural wrote:
You misunderstand unregulated growth.

Perhaps you do, but I do not.

natural wrote:
It does not mean 'really fast growth', it means 'growth that does not have any way to stop except exhaustion of resources'.

Which is in no way what we are experiencing today, except perhaps with oil.

natural wrote:
 Even if the growth rate were 0.001% it would still be unsustainable. It would just take longer to hit the limit.

I think we're just talking past each other in regards to the definition of regulated/unregulated. I suggest we drop it altogether, as it has little bearing on the end result anyway, when I take into consideration where you're coming from.

natural wrote:

A 1 percent growth rate means population doubles in approx. 70 years. Unregulated growth means that continues until resources are exhausted. Some of our resources are themselves living biospheres, which can also be killed off. We are *already* killing off species at an unsustainable rate (100 times the background extinction rate; arguably faster than other mass exinctions of the past). It's a recipe for gigadeath.

You still haven't proved that we're incapable of stopping it, or even stopping it before it's too late. And it is not yet too late. Your sensationalist claims of gigadeath is just that: sensationalist.

natural wrote:
Then you may be able to get some humans in space, but you would still have gigadeath down in the gravity well.

Still haven't proven that.

 

natural wrote:
And eventually, humans would grow to consume all that energy anyway. At most you would be delaying the problem.

If you're wanting to get into the nitty gritty, nothing we do will prevent the problem. Only delay it. Even a fully regulated and sustainable population will run out of resources and time. Staying on Earth will speed up the process by a factor of trillions. Your arguments are self defeating.

natural wrote:

Sorry, it's clear I've given it far more thought than you.

Obviously not.

natural wrote:

The ultimate resource cap is the speed of light, which ensures that we cannot colonize the universe faster than a cubic rate.

Now I think you're getting ahead of yourself. We are not even sure we can colonize beyond our solar system, let alone beyond our galaxy.

natural wrote:
 However, any form of unregulated growth will always be exponential. And, if you knew anything about growth curves, you would know that exponential always overtakes polynomial, given enough time. You will always exhaust resources if you do not regulate growth.

Due to entropy, the exhasution of all resources is inevitable. If that is the focus of your argument, then I'll agree that we have no future at all, and there's nothing we can do about it. I do accept that as a likely probability, if not a certain one. My focus is on prolonging our existence. Which is easy enough to do, as long as we manage ourselves and our environment better than we do. 

natural wrote:
Even if you could colonize space at the speed of light, and collect all the energy available at 100% efficiency, you would still run into resource conflicts eventually with unregulated growth.

It'll happen anyway.

natural wrote:

Like I said. Clearly you don't understand Malthus.

Obviously you are the one who does not understand.

natural wrote:

It is not regulating our population. In fact, war and famine are a result of a *lack* of regulation, which manifests as resource conflicts. Back to biology 101 for you.

War and famine are nature's regulators. Regulation is not dependant on direct human influence. If we don't do it, the Earth will do it for us.

Edit for clarity in italics

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deludedgod wrote:Quote:Not

deludedgod wrote:

Quote:

Not even a factor. Why are you people thinking in 2 dimensional terms anyway? We could take as much room as we currently do a billion times over and still have more space available than we'd know what to do with.

What do you mean "two dimensional terms"? A surface is a 2 dimensional construct, so yeah, of course. Please address the point with some actual specificity instead of the vapid response "Not even a factor". It is a factor! That's a tremendous population density. In fact, that's an insane population density. Ever heard of Malthus? For a K-selected population at high density, the proliferation of disease will increase drastically. It wouldn't be possible to get the population density that high, anyway, for that reason. Like all limiting factors for K-selected populations, density-dependant factors become more limiting as population increases.

The surface of the earth is two dimensional. The earth itself is not. Nor is the structures of humanity. What is it about that simple fact that is so hard to understand?

deludedgod wrote:

Why do you keep making ridiculous assertions and then not backing them up, such as "we could take as much room as we currently do a billion times over and still have more space available than we'd know what to do with"?

You'll forgive me for assuming you have the intelligence to add 2 and 2: height and depth are two directions we have so much room to build within that it makes the surface of Earth look smaller than an asteroid.

deludedgod wrote:
 I'm a little unsure how to interpret this. Are you actually suggesting that with one billionth the space we have now, we'd still have more than we now what to do with?

The reverse. We are using a billionth of what we have available to use. Though this is a disgustingly rough estimate.

deludedgod wrote:
  For a K-selected species like H. sapiens, density will be a growth-limiting factor. We could never get the human population on Earth to 500 billion anyway for that reason.

Expanded construction reduces density.

deludedgod wrote:

I refuse to talk to you again until you read a textbook on population biology and biostatistics. Read this entire textbook:

http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521825375

Or I refuse to continue this conversation

I'll read what I can when I can, but nothing said in this topic refutes me. Not the least of which the repeated strawmen being thrown in my face.

Hambydammit wrote:
In all honesty, Vastet, you are in way over your head on this one.  You should get out while you can.

On the contrary. All you are doing is solidifying my knowledge of the facts I've presented. I'm not going anywhere.

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Vastet wrote:deludedgod

Vastet wrote:

deludedgod wrote:

I refuse to talk to you again until you read a textbook on population biology and biostatistics. Read this entire textbook:

http://www.cambridge.org/uk/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521825375

Or I refuse to continue this conversation

I'll read what I can when I can,

Never mind. I don't have $150-180 to throw around.

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Vastet

        Vastet has a fellow Canadian can I ask of you to make shorter posts?

 

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 People seem to be

 People seem to be forgeting the time frame here. 10 billion by 2050 really doesn't seem that bad at all. Really look at china with a population of 1,330,044,544. Other countries still won't be up to that point by 2050 except india. I really can't see what the fuss is about there is alot of time to work it all out.... besides http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/1467252.stm 

 

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 Quote:besides http://news.

 

Ahem...

from that very article... the last paragraph...

Quote:
But one pivotal variable is the environmental resource base - whether people will have enough to live on - and I'm not sure the authors have taken that into account."

 I'm not sure the implications of this statement are being fully considered, either.

 

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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

Ahem...

from that very article... the last paragraph...

Quote:
But one pivotal variable is the environmental resource base - whether people will have enough to live on - and I'm not sure the authors have taken that into account."

 I'm not sure the implications of this statement are being fully considered, either.

 

Yup I did see that,  I believe he is talking about fossil fuels, already been discussed. I don't see how he can be refering to anything else. maybe you can though.

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Jeffrick

Jeffrick wrote:

        Vastet has a fellow Canadian can I ask of you to make shorter posts?

 

Lol. Sorry man. I think this is winding down anyway though. I can't get the book, they can't get my arguments, and we're travelling in circles. Smiling

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Vastet wrote:they can't get

Vastet wrote:

they can't get my arguments

Something like that. Could you very specifically elaborate what you mean by using the third dimension? Are you imagining above and underground living space such as sky scrapers and caves? Won't the limited amount of biomass available on the world stop us from increasing farm sizes without limits? And no, hydroponics is not a cure for that problem. One way or another we will have to displace other biomass on earth to grow without limits. That has to result in the deaths of other species. We can't take larger and larger cuts out of the pie without limit. And wouldn't space travelers with their self-contained ecosystems actually be taking the earth's biomass away forever? They would leave with clean water and plants and air and nitrogen to fertilize their space-ship hydroponic farms and maybe animals; and then we would never get those resources back. They aren't going to mine biomass out of asteroids or Neptune's moons. Unless they bring in a lot more hydrocarbons and water than they leave with, then they are screwing the people left behind.

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Jormungander wrote:Vastet

Jormungander wrote:

Vastet wrote:

they can't get my arguments

Something like that. Could you very specifically elaborate what you mean by using the third dimension? Are you imagining above and underground living space such as sky scrapers and caves? Won't the limited amount of biomass available on the world stop us from increasing farm sizes without limits? And no, hydroponics is not a cure for that problem. One way or another we will have to displace other biomass on earth to grow without limits. That has to result in the deaths of other species. We can't take larger and larger cuts out of the pie without limit. And wouldn't space travelers with their self-contained ecosystems actually be taking the earth's biomass away forever? They would leave with clean water and plants and air and nitrogen to fertilize their space-ship hydroponic farms and maybe animals; and then we would never get those resources back. They aren't going to mine biomass out of asteroids or Neptune's moons. Unless they bring in a lot more hydrocarbons and water than they leave with, then they are screwing the people left behind.

Now you've got something that has a significant impact on my arguments; as long as I'm correct in assuming you mean organic material (ie: the specific components necessary to sustain life: water for an example) in general, as opposed to the direct definition of biomass, ie: actual living or recently dead material.

Before I continue, I'm going to need some information, that hopefully won't cost me a couple hundred dollars. I wasn't aware that this was a significant issue. I'm still not sure it is, unless we attain immortality.

Is the total amount of biomass known?

Is the amount of available biomass known?

If so, how much of it is being used now(percentage)?

If not, what is the speculation?

 

If you all take off after sparking my interest I'll be rather annoyed. I'm beginning to think that all the overpopulation arguments I've seen may stem from theists, leaving me as properly equipped to fight this battle as I would be to fight an alien invasion. By myself.

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Vastet wrote:

Now you've got something that has a significant impact on my arguments; as long as I'm correct in assuming you mean organic material (ie: the specific components necessary to sustain life: water for an example) in general, as opposed to the direct definition of biomass, ie: actual living or recently dead material.

Before I continue, I'm going to need some information, that hopefully won't cost me a couple hundred dollars. I wasn't aware that this was a significant issue. I'm still not sure it is, unless we attain immortality.

Is the total amount of biomass known?

Is the amount of available biomass known?

If so, how much of it is being used now(percentage)?

If not, what is the speculation?

 

If you all take off after sparking my interest I'll be rather annoyed. I'm beginning to think that all the overpopulation arguments I've seen may stem from theists, leaving me as properly equipped to fight this battle as I would be to fight an alien invasion. By myself.

Yeah, I was using the word 'biomass' very loosely.  Water, hydrocarbons, nitrogen, phosphorous, and all that good stuff is what I was talking about. Thanks to exponential population growth, if fleeing to space is used as a pressure release vavle for our population on earth, there will be limitless amounts of people who will leave. Allowing limitless amounts of people to leave would only open the door for equally limitless population growth. Only stripping our planet's ecosystem of its vital resources will put a stop to that. And we could do it in your optimistic view of the future. Now, if we could find other significant sources of water and hydrocarbons in our solar system then we could use those as resources to sustain space dwellers without leaching irreplaceable resources from earth. That's the problem here, we can breed indefinitely, but even a tiny amount of resources being taken away permenantly each generation would be a rapid descent into a planet devoid of macroscopic life.

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Quote:The surface of the

Quote:

The surface of the earth is two dimensional. The earth itself is not. Nor is the structures of humanity. What is it about that simple fact that is so hard to understand?

Nothing, but how does this address the fact that 3375 pp/km^2 is far beyond the density inhibited K-limit for the human population?

Unless you're suggesting that building upward will solve the problem of such tremendous average density, in whihc case you are more naive than I thought. Remember, the calculation I did projected an even distribution of people across Earth's surface. This is obviously absurd. In reality, the density in large cities with a human population of that size would be around 1.25E6 at least once we take into account the fact that only a small percentage of Earth's surface is actually covered with regions specifically designated to house large numbers of humans. This number is beyond all measure of absurdity.

Quote:

You'll forgive me for assuming you have the intelligence to add 2 and 2: height and depth are two directions we have so much room to build within that it makes the surface of Earth look smaller than an asteroid.

Expanded construction reduces density.

I'm sorry. This is just so ridiculous. You really are more naive than I thought. Let's return to the previous number of 3375pp/km^2. At this, if we stood every person on Earth an even distance away from each with uniform distribution, then each person would be approximately root 300=17.3 m away from an adjacent person. Now, let us suppose that we had the capacity to cover every square inch of land of the Earth with upward housing units (skyscrapers). If averaged out, the only way to house that many people would be to cover the entire Earth with skyscrapers 30 stories in height (at which point the linear density for a surface cross-section of a spherical surface reduces by a factor of 30 and consequently, everyone has a fairly reasonable amount of living space). Of course, since over half of this surface is uninhabitable, and since populations inevitably cluster around specific regions with large volumes of water which is necessary for the sustaining of a large city, this 50% becomes about 4%, and of course, in that 4%, we have to have large regions which are not specifically devoted to housing and of course remember that . Even today we have tremendous problems with city overcrowding, especially in the third world. Multiply the population by a factor of 100 and all absurdity is exceeded. But like I said it does not matter. As a K-selected species, human population growth is inhibited by density (volumetric density too) so we'd get caught in a Malthusian deadlock long before reaching that number (much like Europe did in the 1300s).

Secondly, expanded construction does not reduce density (the Earth has a finite size unless you missed it). Expanded construction upward can reduce surface density but unfortunately, volumetric density is just as important for a K-selected species as is surface density. We're still talking about the number of people in a particular region of space, which is for a K-selected species an inhibition factor. You can't seriously believe that expansion upward will have anything but a marginal effect on volumetric population density (volumetric, NOT surface). This is especially true in epidemiological terms as the people of Europe found out during the Y. pestis outbreak which killed nearly a third of the population. Hasn't the fact that no experts in population dynamics agree with you and virtually everyone who knows something about this subject agree that the human population will cap at around 10 billion clued you in?


 

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Chris Hedges on Overpopulation

   Heres a good argument about overpopulation and a rebuttal  www.alternet.org/environment/130843/are_we_breeding_ourselves_to_extinction/page=entire

 and the rebuttal www.alternet.org/module/printversion/131400 ,I didn't get a chance to read them both .  

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deludedgod wrote:Nothing,

deludedgod wrote:

Nothing, but how does this address the fact that 3375 pp/km^2 is far beyond the density inhibited K-limit for the human population?

I had misunderstood the argument you were applying, as I'm sure you're aware by now. Or you think I'm a complete idiot. And to be honest, I was exaggerting with the numbers I was throwing out; for the foreseeable future. Allow me to restructure.

If I understand your argument properly, then overpopulation cannot be a major issue (unless we literally force ourselves to overpopulate, which will obviously lead to a speedy extinction), because we simply can't get there. The Earth's population of humans will cap and remain relatively stable for the rest of our time on it, with the odd fluctuation here and there. Correct me if I'm wrong with my understanding of your argument.

deludedgod wrote:

Unless you're suggesting that building upward will solve the problem of such tremendous average density, in whihc case you are more naive than I thought.

Just for your clarification, I was actually referring to localized density. To expand, localizing large populations in small areas located near essential resources such as water so that vast swaths of the Earth's ecosystem could be left to its own devices. Less small cities and more large cities, though at smaller average sizes than the largest cities we currently have, and much larger than the smallest ones.  

I was not talking about building Coruscant from Star Wars, ie: a city planet.

Jormungander wrote:

Yeah, I was using the word 'biomass' very loosely.  Water, hydrocarbons, nitrogen, phosphorous, and all that good stuff is what I was talking about. Thanks to exponential population growth, if fleeing to space is used as a pressure release vavle for our population on earth, there will be limitless amounts of people who will leave. Allowing limitless amounts of people to leave would only open the door for equally limitless population growth. Only stripping our planet's ecosystem of its vital resources will put a stop to that. And we could do it in your optimistic view of the future. Now, if we could find other significant sources of water and hydrocarbons in our solar system then we could use those as resources to sustain space dwellers without leaching irreplaceable resources from earth. That's the problem here, we can breed indefinitely, but even a tiny amount of resources being taken away permenantly each generation would be a rapid descent into a planet devoid of macroscopic life.

I can't disagree.

Though optimism tells me that we'll eventually be able to harvest the solar system at a level we can't currently foresee. Smiling

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Quote:As a species, we could

Quote:
As a species, we could number in the hundreds of billions and still be capable of living on Earth in relatively similar conditions to today.

...Are you kidding?

If you're a wide-eyed, crazy optimist, you honestly believe that the planet can likely handle about 4.4 billion human beings. Anything beyond that and you simply cannot be taken seriously.

 

How many aquifers are there in the world? How many liters of water does each aquifer contain, how much does it gain back each year, and how many liters of water is required per person per year? How much total farmland is available? How many net calories per acre, at maximum, can we yield from that farmland while it is still arable? How many generations of crop can we grow from it before the topsoil is no longer arable? How many calories does each human being on Earth require per year to remain healthy?

Vastet, are you aware of the work of Norman Borlaug? Borlaug's 'Green Revolution' was, essentially, the very reason we've been able to reach our pesent point. Thanks to agricultural engineering, we've really been able to squeeze the calories out of our fields and with minimal human caloric input (we've been using fossil fuels to shoulder our weight) - but, unfortunately, even this monumental work (Dr. Borlaug really did save humanity's collective ass) has it's limitations. For starters, we're running out of accessible fossil fuels. Heavy agricultural equipment cannot operate without them and modern fertilizers & pestcides cannot be synthesized without them.

The looming predicament is rather obvious. How do we continue feeding an exponentially growing population with a limited (and dwindling) ability to harvest food? And if we cannot, who is going to volunteer to starve and/or dehydrate to death for the benefit of strangers?

 

While I'm also a proponent for space exploration in the future, we cannot pretend that potential, speculative technologies for the future are any kind of solution to our present-day problems. We have many, many, many years to go before we'd be space-worthy, and we cannot get there if we corner ourselves into nuclear oblivion in the interim due to food/water/hydrocarbon shortage.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

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Oh, and in case anyone

Oh, and in case anyone thinks I'm just being a street corner crazy, here is what the Central Intelligence Agency has to say on the matter.

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

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Ken G. wrote:   Heres a

Ken G. wrote:

   Heres a good argument about overpopulation and a rebuttal  www.alternet.org/environment/130843/are_we_breeding_ourselves_to_extinction/page=entire

 and the rebuttal www.alternet.org/module/printversion/131400 ,I didn't get a chance to read them both .  

Anyone who talks about overpopulation not being a problem *without* addressing the mass extinction and ecological collapse issue (e.g. both Vastet and this rebuttal article) are simply denialists with their heads in the sand. Sorry. It has to be said.

Study evolution and population dynamics. Study past mass-extinction events. Study the current Holocene mass extinction event which is human-caused. Put two and two together.

Now, I ask you, what is a population crash? If you haven't got a solid answer for that, you need to go back and do more research.

This overpopulation denialism is as bad as global warming denialism. Perhaps worse.

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Good point Kevin. I think we

Good point Kevin. I think we need to consider deforestation and desertification also.


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Quote:This overpopulation

Quote:
This overpopulation denialism is as bad as global warming denialism. Perhaps worse.

They're a married issue, IMHO.

 

The 'rebuttal' article is a joke. It's another Crichton-esque, "Oh, they're just using that issue to steal away the spotlight from my pet issue!" argument. Take what they've said about the birth rates in the developing world:

"Moreover, the few countries that still have relatively high birth rates, such as those in sub-Saharan Africa, have the least impact on environmental factors such as global warming."

This is just flatly wrong. Africans don't need to eat, drink, receive an education, etc? Curious that the author then goes on a rant about how ecologists are apparently just trying to mask the issue of ugly politics in Africa, given that their argument hinges on the notion that Africa remains undeveloped.

 

Quote:
"Natasha has just come up to the window from the courtyard and opened it wider so that the air may enter more freely into my room. I can see the bright green strip of grass beneath the wall, and the clear blue sky above the wall, and sunlight everywhere. Life is beautiful. Let the future generations cleanse it of all evil, oppression and violence, and enjoy it to the full."

- Leon Trotsky, Last Will & Testament
February 27, 1940


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 Quote:While I'm also a

 

Quote:
While I'm also a proponent for space exploration in the future, we cannot pretend that potential, speculative technologies for the future are any kind of solution to our present-day problems. We have many, many, many years to go before we'd be space-worthy, and we cannot get there if we corner ourselves into nuclear oblivion in the interim due to food/water/hydrocarbon shortage.

Awww.... Kevin, you're making me proud.  As you probably know, I'm in the food industry, and I really don't think most people have any conception of just how much energy is required to feed the current population.  I'm going to give you an example that may seem a little off the beaten path, but it's one of those variables nobody considers.

In the Atlanta area, there are two major food distributors (for restaurants)-- Sysco and US Foods.  Sysco is by far the biggest.  They have a mammoth warehouse on the outskirts of Atlanta that supplies several counties -- in other words, several hundred miles in any direction.  Without a close competitor for #2, Sysco is far and away the leading consumer of electricity in the Greater Atlanta area.  Far and away.

The Sysco warehouse is huge.  Think of the biggest Walmart you've ever seen and put five or six of them end to end.  The entire operation is completely climate controlled.  They have a fleet of trucks, an even larger fleet of fork lifts and other industrial vehicles for receiving, processing, storing, retrieving, and shipping.  They have a massive backup generator in the event of a primary power failure.  The volume of food that passes through there per day is staggering.  There are hundreds of suppliers that have their own vehicles for shipping their own food from their own warehouse to Sysco.

Let me return to something.  Sysco is by far the largest consumer of electricity in Atlanta.  Now, bear this in mind -- mass production is far, far more efficient than localized small scale production.  I don't know how to guess how much less electricity is used in food production by such a large warehouse as opposed to individual farmers markets doing the same volume.  I'd guess it's probably exponential.

So, the point I'm making is that food production is a very labor intensive industry.  Machines can do exponentially more than humans.  If all humans were in the business of making food (which is absurd) they could not make as much food as machines.  Our population potential is severely limited not only by space, as Deludedgod has clearly demonstrated, but by the availability of large amounts of fuel.  Sure, we could use our fuel more efficiently, or find better fuels, but everything takes something, and there are real limits to any fuel source.

Maybe you guys are comfortable trusting scientists to come up with an equivalent to fossil fuels, but I'm not.  If alternative fuels can pick up right where fossil fuels leave off, that's great, but if they can't, there will be starvation.  This is not conjecture.  It's simple math.

 

 

 

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Wow, I knew I was opening a

Wow, I knew I was opening a potential can of worms, but I really wasn't expecting a debate on whether overpopulation is truly an issue.  I've been sick over the last couple days or I would have chimed in sooner. 

It's nearly unfathomable to me to think that we can just grow our population infinitely without completely ignoring the environmental consequences.

To me we have already thrashed the earth, and it's species, ecosystems, resources etc.  I'm not even an environmentalist either.  To think that we can rape the earth even further, and not face dire consequences is naive at best.

One thing that weighs on my mind, that hasn't been addressed as much in this thread is some sort of proactive measures.  What do you guys think those should be (assuming that overpop. is a serious issue.)

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TonyZXT wrote:One thing that

TonyZXT wrote:
One thing that weighs on my mind, that hasn't been addressed as much in this thread is some sort of proactive measures.  What do you guys think those should be (assuming that overpop. is a serious issue.)

Unfortunately, proactive measures will likely require large changes in culture, from economics to politics to education.

The main cause of environmental destruction is our culture of Consumptionism, the idea that it is okay to grow and grow in ignorance of the requirement of sustainability. Most gov'ts and corporations are based on Consumptionism. Most people are also Consumptionists.

One effective way of alleviating Consumptionism is to eliminate poverty by getting the poorest people to start their own businesses, so they can earn their own money, rather than being dependent on corporations for jobs. This has been successfully done with the idea of micro-loans. It is quite amazing. Google it for more info.

However, I think the long term solution is education. The more educated people, and the ones who value education more, are the ones with the lower birth rates. Education, like micro-loans, gives you more power in your employment, allowing you to get better pay and choose better jobs. Education also requires investment in learning, which leaves people with less time/money to grow a large family. Valuing education also makes a person less likely to bring a child into the world which the person cannot afford to educate. Education about things like sex and politics empowers women, giving them more control over when they have children.

Education is the most effective long-term strategy. The only problem is that it's long term and requires long term investment. It is not a quick fix. Unfortunately, I don't see any quick fixes. Things are going to get worse before they get better.

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 I agree with Natural.

 I agree with Natural.  The only thing that has ever been consistent in decreasing the voluntary birth rate has been education.  The world over, people with more education have less children.

More education also (I think...) correlates to more environmental responsiblity, but I'm only extrapolating that.  I haven't seen a study specifically demonstrating that.  

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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Tapey
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Hambydammit

Hambydammit wrote:

 

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While I'm also a proponent for space exploration in the future, we cannot pretend that potential, speculative technologies for the future are any kind of solution to our present-day problems. We have many, many, many years to go before we'd be space-worthy, and we cannot get there if we corner ourselves into nuclear oblivion in the interim due to food/water/hydrocarbon shortage.

Awww.... Kevin, you're making me proud.  As you probably know, I'm in the food industry, and I really don't think most people have any conception of just how much energy is required to feed the current population.  I'm going to give you an example that may seem a little off the beaten path, but it's one of those variables nobody considers.

Hehe all to true it requires more than most imagen, I study it at university, the political economy of food. 

 

Hambydammit wrote:

Maybe you guys are comfortable trusting scientists to come up with an equivalent to fossil fuels, but I'm not.  If alternative fuels can pick up right where fossil fuels leave off, that's great, but if they can't, there will be starvation.  This is not conjecture.  It's simple math.

The truth is no they can't just pick up from fossil fuels, pretty much whatever becomes main stream will require massive changes to a lot of sectors of the economy. I don't think many people realise just how dependant we are on fossil fuels, every aspect of our lives are dependant on them. Btw there is already starvation, unless the first world helps the third world with the changes needed I really cannot imagen how many people would starve

 

Whatever goes upon two legs is an enemy.
Whatever goes upon four legs, or has wings, is a friend.
No animal shall wear clothes.
No animal shall sleep in a bed.
No animal shall drink alcohol.
No animal shall kill any other animal.
All animals are equal.


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Solution

There is no easy solution.  The best solution I have heard is to use orbital platforms to send microwave energy down to sterilize segments of the population.  Stop howling.  I said best, not most popular.  If just the cities were targeted the damage to the biosphere would be minimal.  I believe there would be some opposition to this plan especially among the various superstitions.  Do you think this is worse than what is going to happen if nothing is done?

Superstition rules,so we have to go to plan B.  You can decide for yourself to have fewer children.  You can drive a smaller car.  You can have a smaller well insulated house.  You can grow some of your own food.  There is going to be a period of adjustment.  The only question is weather we impose it upon ourselves, or weather nature imposes it upon us.


darth_josh
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Lifespan not birth rate is

Lifespan not birth rate is your 'culprit', overpopulationists.

I said it before in the previous threads. The elderly count in census records too. Every country's elderly population has increased in the last 20 years.

For the person who applied the series growth equation, the real world doesn't bend to statistical algebra. Booms and slumps apply to population growth and decline as well. The data is only good after the fact. Trends lie. (See D.J.I.A.)

Everyone is spending their time, money, and other resources on trying to keep getting older and keeping their penises erect and vaginas moist well into their 70's.

For the capitalists, Old people don't buy anything either. The young people buy it for them in the form of social security or even worse <shudder> they live with us.

An ever-increasing population of old fuckers means there will need to be an ever-increasing population to support them. Currently, my old-people tax only pays for 1/3 of what my granddad gets in a month.

If you are so committed to 'fixing' the problem of this alleged 'overpopulation' then by all means proceed to the following website:

http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/pat-advocacy/endoflife/003.html

 

I did mine a while ago with my practitioner. I even have the cute little necklace and keep it in my wallet.

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Hambydammit
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 Quote:The best solution I

 

Quote:
The best solution I have heard is to use orbital platforms to send microwave energy down to sterilize segments of the population.

Ummm... have you been listening to Coast to Coast AM?

Quote:
Superstition rules,so we have to go to plan B.  You can decide for yourself to have fewer children.  You can drive a smaller car.  You can have a smaller well insulated house.  You can grow some of your own food.  There is going to be a period of adjustment.  The only question is weather we impose it upon ourselves, or weather nature imposes it upon us.

I'll be honest.  I don't think there's any realistic hope.  If we had another five or six centuries to work on ridding the world of religion, that would be one thing, but so long as people believe that 1) people are special, and better than other organisms,  and 2) God wants them to make more people, then we're pretty much fucked.

 

Atheism isn't a lot like religion at all. Unless by "religion" you mean "not religion". --Ciarin

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