gad-fly wrote: ↑
June 30th, 2020, 11:11 pm
chewybrian wrote: ↑
June 30th, 2020, 11:33 am
What is true at the extreme must be true at the margin. . . so there is a trade-off and presumably an optimum number of people
I am partly playing devil's advocate, but also pointing out that it might not be a pure black and white issue.
True about what you said that Optimum is best. Unfortunately optimum is indeterminate even with some commonly agreed criteria. To dwell on optimum population would derail this thread which should focus on the adverse Impact of WEP, say A to E, according to the order of priority. As to benevolent impacts, we can leave them for another thread. I cannot see you playing devil's advocate, but in this forum we need naysayers as much as we need agreement. If someone can points out the good side of deforestation, for example, his would be a good contribution to be welcomed.
Pure black and white issue? I would be the first to leave.
Well, in terms of priority, it seems simple enough to put global warming at the top. It is possible that we may hit a tipping point where we make the planet hostile to future generations for a long time. To the extent that we can understand and measure these impacts, we should be prompted to put them at the top of our list. The real offenders might see a benefit, like cheap energy, without consequences from their carelessness, before future victims are even born. So, overpopulation seriously contributes to global warming without any check valve to slow the impact.
Second would seem to be resource depletion. This could be serious, for sure, and a lot of suffering could result. But, unlike something like global warming, it seems like it would be self-regulating. If we reach an extreme, people might starve, or there may be wars over resources, yet these would keep our numbers in check, or at least make the problem pressing enough for us to put real effort to solving it.
Third for me is an important one that might be overlooked. I believe that friendliness is inversely related to population. In the extreme, I will relate the conditions in the rural community where my father used to live. People you did not know would actually wave through the windshield at you as you passed them on the road going the opposite way. This seems a bit nuts to many of us, but is reasonable and practical in an area with such sparse population. If you were outside, neighbors would stop and talk to you if they happened to see you as they walked or drove by. The clerk at the store would strike up a conversation with you. In short, life went along at a human pace.
This may seem like nothing to some people, but perhaps they can not appreciate these small measures of respect for individuals because they are living in an environment approaching the other end of the spectrum. If you live in New York, you are going to assume someone is bonkers if they wave at every person they see. And, you may naturally wish to escape strangers rather than wanting to interact with them.
I say something important is lost in such an environment, and potentially in such a world. We lose track of people as individuals and never really get to know and respect them the way we could, perhaps should. A part of our humanity seems to be lost in the process.
"If determinism holds, then past events have conspired to cause me to hold this view--it is out of my control. Either I am right about free will, or it is not my fault that I am wrong."