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Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

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Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Greta » January 20th, 2019, 4:58 pm

Is the world overpopulated? Consider this as a fairly typical view expressed in academia:
VICE: Let's start off with a simple one: Are there too many people in the world right now?
Lyman Stone ("Lyman Stone, an economics researcher specialising in population issues "): No. When people talk about overpopulation you have to ask, "Why? What is the problem with the number of people that we have?" You get a couple answers. Sometimes people say we can’t feed them all. That’s not true. The caloric output of current agriculture is more than enough to feed everyone, and most of the world is nowhere near maximum theoretical yields with even current technology.

Maybe people think we don’t have enough water. Water stress is a big deal in many parts of the world—but water is renewable. You can desalinate it, you can collect it from the atmosphere, it literally falls from the sky. But then you get to the problem with desalinating water for everyone, which is energy. That is the fundamental population problem—not food, not crowding, the only real issue is energy. Then the question is, why do we not have enough energy? That gets to fossil fuels, global warming—but at the end of the day, there is a vast amount of energy available using fairly simple technologies like wind, hydro energy, and biomass, which is renewable since the sun is pumping energy onto us. Energy is a place where we’re making massive strides, and the potential for renewables are enormous.
https://www.vice.com/en_au/article/d35n ... s-is-wrong

All over the web, and in academia, this insane myth that the world does not have too many humans is being propagated. I am confused as to how people can ignore:
- climate change - increased wildfires, loss of sea ice and sea level rise, more intense storms, more extreme heatwaves, rapid loss of coral reef ecosystems
- "According to the World Resources Institute (WRI), more than 80 percent of the Earth's natural forests already have been destroyed at the rate of 20,000 hectares per day"
- "Scientists estimate we're now losing species at 1,000 to 10,000 times the background rate, with literally dozens going extinct every day"
- "The world’s 7.6 billion people represent just 0.01% of all living things, according to the study. Yet since the dawn of civilisation, humanity has caused the loss of 83% of all wild mammals and half of plants, while livestock kept by humans abounds"
- 60 million+ refugees
- growing homelessness and terrible accommodation, eg. Hong Kong's people cages, many people living in one room
- properties becoming too expensive for normal people to buy
- gridlocks, heavy traffic jams and parking shortages in all major cities
- ever more highrise hominid holders to fit in our bursting numbers.

It is utter insanity to claim that the world is not overpopulated, that what we are doing is sustainable, and yet this view is being taught by the most respected demographers and population experts.

The claim is always the same. It's not that our numbers are too high but we consume too much. Does anyone else find this complete lack of understanding of human nature hard to understand? You would think that, noticing the sweep of history, so-called experts would notice that there are zero examples in all of human history of people proactively reducing consumption over long periods.

Rather, our growing consumption has lead to high powered brains raised by plentiful calories and high powered civilisations of ever greater technical attainment. It is no coincidence that the only nations with low consumption are those struggling economically with corrupt leaders taking most wealth for themselves.

No, but wait, say the "experts"! What if we change our economic systems so that the rich are forced to share more? What if we change human nature to make it less avaricious? You might as well talk about getting cows to jump over the Moon.

Massage to the experts: Please stop spreading this misinformation, as if the world had far more carrying capacity. It's not just about feeding everyone - it's about sustainability, ecosystems, extinctions, climate change and the realities of human nature. How can expert opinion, based on decades, centuries, even millennia of learning and cultural transmission, be so profoundly and damagingly wrong? Is it just a simple matter of silos, where the economist ignores the biology and the biologist ignores the economy? Anthropocentrism?

Could it be that deluded demographers who keep repeat this truly insane claim that overpopulation is a myth are the ones most likely to gain employment, sponsored by corporations seeking to expand the customer base?

Contribute as you will. I just needed to get this off my chest.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Jklint » January 20th, 2019, 8:28 pm

What you mention is only part of the problem. The one that may be even more important is the utter corruption and waste which rules the planet. Though we are definitely over populated but even that may be better manageable - as long as numbers stabilize - if our reign of gross exploitation of the planet along with the entire host of corrupt governments were ended. But that won't happen and as consequence its clear to see our path spiraling downward. This has nothing to do with being pessimistic but everything with the facts of how we behaved on this planet from the very start.

There is so much more to say on the subject if one really ones to get into the nitty-gritty but for me this summarizes our reality.

As for "experts" there are some who live up the name but most are educated idiots, mere walking functions without an additional single thought that wasn't inculcated by their programming.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Burning ghost » January 20th, 2019, 9:15 pm

Greta -
Massage to the experts: Please stop spreading this misinformation, as if the world had far more carrying capacity. It's not just about feeding everyone - it's about sustainability, ecosystems, extinctions, climate change and the realities of human nature. How can expert opinion, based on decades, centuries, even millennia of learning and cultural transmission, be so profoundly and damagingly wrong? Is it just a simple matter of silos, where the economist ignores the biology and the biologist ignores the economy? Anthropocentrism?
Maybe they’re correct and you’re wrong? It is possible. Just saying.

Also, to talk about 0.1% of all living things is not really a henuine figure when we’re talking about body mass and multicellular organisms.

I’d certainly stop short of condoning human culling.
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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Greta » January 20th, 2019, 9:31 pm

Jklint wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 8:28 pm
What you mention is only part of the problem. The one that may be even more important is the utter corruption and waste which rules the planet. Though we are definitely over populated but even that may be better manageable - as long as numbers stabilize - if our reign of gross exploitation of the planet along with the entire host of corrupt governments were ended. But that won't happen and as consequence its clear to see our path spiraling downward. This has nothing to do with being pessimistic but everything with the facts of how we behaved on this planet from the very start.

There is so much more to say on the subject if one really ones to get into the nitty-gritty but for me this summarizes our reality.

As for "experts" there are some who live up the name but most are educated idiots, mere walking functions without an additional single thought that wasn't inculcated by their programming.
Based on our history, inequality and waste appear to be a part of the human package.

How long can we live in denial, hoping against hope that humans finally accept more moral responsibility for what they do? Not too much longer now by the looks of it. Yet "experts" are STILL talking about how there's plenty of scape for more people to be crammed in ever taller hominid holding towers without seeing the irony of their necessity in the first place.

I agree with your general assessment, and I see winners and losers rather than human annihilation.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Greta » January 20th, 2019, 9:54 pm

Burning ghost wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 9:15 pm
Greta -
Massage to the experts: Please stop spreading this misinformation, as if the world had far more carrying capacity. It's not just about feeding everyone - it's about sustainability, ecosystems, extinctions, climate change and the realities of human nature. How can expert opinion, based on decades, centuries, even millennia of learning and cultural transmission, be so profoundly and damagingly wrong? Is it just a simple matter of silos, where the economist ignores the biology and the biologist ignores the economy? Anthropocentrism?
Maybe they’re correct and you’re wrong? It is possible. Just saying.

Also, to talk about 0.1% of all living things is not really a henuine figure when we’re talking about body mass and multicellular organisms.

I’d certainly stop short of condoning human culling.
While not advocating a cull :lol: I do note that there was a renaissance of creativity and prosperity after the Black Death in the middle ages, which may have inspired the writers to use as a rationale for their supervillain.

Do you think I invented the idea that there's too many people for the world's ecosystems? Try asking biologists, zoologists, ecologists, botanists, meteorologists, climatologists, planetary scientists, oceanic scientists, evolutionary biologists, taxidermists and other museum staff, et al. I think you'll find they disagree just as vehemently with blinkered short-termist economists as quoted above.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Jklint » January 20th, 2019, 11:48 pm

Greta wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 9:31 pm
How long can we live in denial, hoping against hope that humans finally accept more moral responsibility for what they do? Not too much longer now by the looks of it.
When they’re forced into it, not through any moral responsibility but by desperation and panic! Compared to these, morality has always been the weak force in the human psyche.

What’s hardly ever mentioned is that once this kind of hopeless despair sets in it’s almost certain that geopolitical fiascos will follow and mass movements of people likely to occur, current events being only a minor introduction. When desperation grows the animosity between nation-states may likewise become uncontrollable. If anyone of them launches a nuclear bomb it may be that what started in nature as a counter action to our long-term historical mismanagement will be concluded by us against ourselves. The greater the desperation the greater the hatred.

There also won’t be any winners. There will only be those who last longer by virtue of having more resources. With the way things are shaping up those closer to the end of their lives have, by that simple fact, more reason to be grateful than those just beginning.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by LuckyR » January 21st, 2019, 3:50 am

You're right, there are definitely too many people consuming too much. All the more reason to push education of women, which happens to be the best contraceptive.
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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Steve3007 » January 21st, 2019, 12:08 pm

Greta wrote:The claim is always the same. It's not that our numbers are too high but we consume too much. Does anyone else find this complete lack of understanding of human nature hard to understand? You would think that, noticing the sweep of history, so-called experts would notice that there are zero examples in all of human history of people proactively reducing consumption over long periods.
This appears to be where the flaw usually lies in the thinking of the people who claim that the world is not over-populated with humans. In extreme cases, they literally only think about the physical size of human bodies and point out that the entire human population of the world could, theoretically, fit on a small island off the south coast of England, therefore (the argument appears to go) the world is not overcrowded. The same basic mistake, in a less extreme form, is made by others: failing to account for the environmental footprint of each person, not as we would ideally want it to be but as it actually is.

So, I agree that it's tragic that we, as a species, don't really seem to care that by our sheer numbers we're very rapidly driving to extinction most species that aren't directly useful to us. Ultimately, as with so many human problems, this appears to me to stem from our evolved behaviours and beliefs failing to keep up with relatively recent changes in reality. The "go forth and multiply" attitude that was necessary for human/tribal survival when the global population was about 1% of what it is now was therefore codified into holy books.

Those messages in those holy books, and the instincts to promote the success of the home tribe by making it bigger than the rivals, are still just as influential as they were.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Steve3007 » January 21st, 2019, 12:38 pm

It seems clear that this is why the idea of solving demographic problems in highly developed countries by importing young people is not generally liked by a lot of the population. Ostensibly, in an overcrowded world, if you live in a country with a low birth rate it makes sense not to increase that birth rate but rather to import young people from other (usually poorer) countries with higher birthrates. But most people, as they get older, would rather be supported in their dotage by young people with whom they feel they have a strong cultural and genetic bond. Other things being equal, the kid's less likely to steal the pension from his own granny than he is from a stranger, and more likely to want to support her with his labour.

It's hard to beat the comfort and security of a large pool of people who have a genetic interest in your welfare.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Greta » January 21st, 2019, 4:35 pm

Jklint wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 11:48 pm
Greta wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 9:31 pm
How long can we live in denial, hoping against hope that humans finally accept more moral responsibility for what they do? Not too much longer now by the looks of it.
When they’re forced into it, not through any moral responsibility but by desperation and panic! Compared to these, morality has always been the weak force in the human psyche.

What’s hardly ever mentioned is that once this kind of hopeless despair sets in it’s almost certain that geopolitical fiascos will follow and mass movements of people likely to occur, current events being only a minor introduction. When desperation grows the animosity between nation-states may likewise become uncontrollable. If anyone of them launches a nuclear bomb it may be that what started in nature as a counter action to our long-term historical mismanagement will be concluded by us against ourselves. The greater the desperation the greater the hatred.

There also won’t be any winners. There will only be those who last longer by virtue of having more resources. With the way things are shaping up those closer to the end of their lives have, by that simple fact, more reason to be grateful than those just beginning.
I don't see the Anthopocene as an end but a reformation.

I see winners and losers, though. The winners will be right in the middle of the "penguin huddle" protected by millions. Their genetically and technologically enhanced lines will continue when billions of people become fertiliser. All that's needed is to locate yourself where you are best placed for energy and water independence, and a lot of billionaires are already prepping. If I was a billionaire I'd be positioning myself for energy, water and food independence, along with aiming for maximal technological assistance and firepower.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Greta » January 21st, 2019, 5:04 pm

I think we have a situation not unlike Rupert Murdoch's editors. He doesn't have to tell them what to do because they were hired on the basis of thinking as Murdoch does. By the same token, it seems that demographers and other population experts are being hired on the basis of their views working in favour of corporate commercial interests, ie. more people means more customers.

Corporations have certainly been in Australian state and federal government ears about this. It doesn't help that many religious people (like those dominating our parliaments presiding over mostly secular populations) see this as the prophesy fulfilled. Man's dominion over the world. Theists have always been too focused on (alleged) human divinity to show mercy towards poor old other species, theists' long time whipping posts.

Humanity's attitudes towards other animals, in the vernacular, completely freaks me out! Even as we are undergoing a shocking extinction, the economists and demographers who are advising politicians continue to push for greater human populations.

Steve3007 wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 12:08 pm
So, I agree that it's tragic that we, as a species, don't really seem to care that by our sheer numbers we're very rapidly driving to extinction most species that aren't directly useful to us. Ultimately, as with so many human problems, this appears to me to stem from our evolved behaviours and beliefs failing to keep up with relatively recent changes in reality. The "go forth and multiply" attitude that was necessary for human/tribal survival when the global population was about 1% of what it is now was therefore codified into holy books.
It all seems like we are the victims of natural processes, despite our attempts to rise above.

I'm reminded of chimps, whose communities usually won't grow beyond 100 members. I saw a documentary about a community of twice that size, which is very rare and seemingly happened by chance (amazing story but too long to go into here). However, over time that group showed signs of fracture, the main warning sign being when group members start treating certain others as outsiders. We are a very clever (and controlling) species and worked out ways to suppress those tensions, but the US in recent years has shown that that's a bandaid rather than a cure for division.

Steve3007 wrote:
January 21st, 2019, 12:38 pm
It seems clear that this is why the idea of solving demographic problems in highly developed countries by importing young people is not generally liked by a lot of the population. Ostensibly, in an overcrowded world, if you live in a country with a low birth rate it makes sense not to increase that birth rate but rather to import young people from other (usually poorer) countries with higher birthrates. But most people, as they get older, would rather be supported in their dotage by young people with whom they feel they have a strong cultural and genetic bond. Other things being equal, the kid's less likely to steal the pension from his own granny than he is from a stranger, and more likely to want to support her with his labour.

It's hard to beat the comfort and security of a large pool of people who have a genetic interest in your welfare.
Actually, I think it's a con job. These young people think there will always be jobs, but there are being used as a stop gap until their work can be automated. Hopefully the billionaires controlling the machines will allow them unemployment benefits and pensions.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by chewybrian » January 21st, 2019, 5:19 pm

Greta wrote:
January 20th, 2019, 4:58 pm
Massage to the experts:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YHFE6WZK71s

(I agree with you, btw, though I doubt I have a very informed opinion on the subject.)
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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Burning ghost » January 22nd, 2019, 4:40 am

The simple facts are that regaardless of what you believe or wish we’re going to level out at around 11 billion people (although we may overshoot that a little and maybe settle as low a 9 billon - the predictions all say roughly something along those lines).

We can sustain a population of 11 billion easily enough and we can currently feed the world right now easily enough too (we produce more food than we currently consume).

The thrust of the OP is questioning whether we’ll cause so much damage during this growth phase that we’ll cripple the natural environment. That is certainly a possibility. As for the extinction of species, that is simply inevitable and we’re now tslking abpit how to lessen the damage rather than stop it completely.

Reducing populations won’t change attitudes. The time will come soon enough when we have to either find a way around the problem of what we do to damage the natural environment - be that by practical management or by way of suffering a near fatal calamity.

As far as I can see there is nothing to say a human population of 11 billion is unsustainable. Will such a population suze cause problems? For sure. I think we’re up to the task and have to accept that many large mammals alive today will be as good as gone by the tiem we hit our maximum population.

The major issue seems to be about managing food production. This means creating a farming system that satifies global needs without chopping down trees to make a quick buck or too. It is at least harder to “poach” land so once dire time hit it is something that can be policed better than protecting animals from guns and such - basically I mean that someon cannot farm land if they afe not active on it and will get caught if they try.
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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Greta » January 22nd, 2019, 7:55 am

Burning ghost wrote:
January 22nd, 2019, 4:40 am
The simple facts are that regaardless of what you believe or wish we’re going to level out at around 11 billion people (although we may overshoot that a little and maybe settle as low a 9 billon - the predictions all say roughly something along those lines).

We can sustain a population of 11 billion easily enough and we can currently feed the world right now easily enough too (we produce more food than we currently consume).

The thrust of the OP is questioning whether we’ll cause so much damage during this growth phase that we’ll cripple the natural environment. That is certainly a possibility. As for the extinction of species, that is simply inevitable and we’re now tslking abpit how to lessen the damage rather than stop it completely.

Reducing populations won’t change attitudes. The time will come soon enough when we have to either find a way around the problem of what we do to damage the natural environment - be that by practical management or by way of suffering a near fatal calamity.

As far as I can see there is nothing to say a human population of 11 billion is unsustainable. Will such a population suze cause problems? For sure. I think we’re up to the task and have to accept that many large mammals alive today will be as good as gone by the tiem we hit our maximum population.

The major issue seems to be about managing food production. This means creating a farming system that satifies global needs without chopping down trees to make a quick buck or too. It is at least harder to “poach” land so once dire time hit it is something that can be policed better than protecting animals from guns and such - basically I mean that someon cannot farm land if they afe not active on it and will get caught if they try.
The claim that the world can handle 11 billion is a common one but it fails to take into account the fact that the Earth has already proved to be completely incapable of sustaining even seven billion people.

We are already operating profoundly unsustainably. Where is the evidence that the Earth with 11 billion people would suddenly become immensely more sustainable than it is with 7.6 billion?

This claim is just corporations finding excuses to lobby for more crush loading to increase their customer bases. They naturally fund demographers who focus on economics and human factors, who are oblivious to the situation with the natural world, who advocate extra people to boost infrastructure capability as if nature can be stretched and plundered indefinitely without massive lashback.

As a result, this line about the Earth being able to easily handle many more people becomes the "official" one, yet imagine Sir David Attenborough's or Richard Dawkins's reactions to the claim that the Earth can sustainably increase its human population by another half again.

For me personally, even if feasible, a world of such crowding, so depleted naturally, crammed into small units in residential towers, with no freedom nor privacy, the constant noise of machines, with foul stinking air and no blue skies or the ability to clearly see the stars in the night sky is one where I'd probably rather be dead. As a nature over, I see a world of only humans and their opinions and stuff as relatively sterile, soulless and heartless. Repellent.

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Re: Expert denial about overpopulation: Thanos was correct

Post by Burning ghost » January 22nd, 2019, 10:44 am

Greta -

Maybe you don’t understand the context I’m using here. There are already over 7 billion and we’re not exactly on the brink of chaos or starving to death. What generally happens is once poverty goes population increases and then levels off. We simply have to do the best we can to reduce poverty and that means population increases prior to levelling off.

If you’d rather be dead then help the problem you see along by giving your belongings to a poor family and killing yourself. The reality is that the most heavily populated poor areas are going to grow. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Less people won’t change people’s attitudes it will probably just give them more of an excuse to consume more and more.

People imagined a hell beyind which humanity would never rise again due to the industrial revolution and the rise of capitalism. They were wrong. It was certainly a bad patch, but at the end of it more people were better off because of it than not (as in poverty then was something unimaginable compared to what many modern people complain about.)
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