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Thread: The Earth problemthing

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    Default The Earth problem..thing

    Most people don't deny that the world is pretty screwed (i.e. everybody apart from George Bush) - so here's a humanitarian puzzle which has no obvious answer, which is guaranteed to catch out the ethically handicapped... .

    Right, so the whole world's resources are being consumed at a faster rate than they are being replenished, yet the human population is growing at an exponential rate...nature's way of fixing things is to have a die back to restore balance (the problem with humans is that their technological balances allow them to go further than other animals).

    If the human population is guaranteed to have a massive dieback in the future, it is 'obviously' better to decrease the population now (i.e. kill people) so that less people die in the future - but as you can see, his is highly unethical. The advantages of this would also be that species necessary to keep the world's ecosystems don't become extinct, whereas if we do nothing, our desire for resources means that they won't have any, and they will die out.

    So, unless you believe things will sort themselves out naturally, it is actually less ethical to do nothing than to go round killing people (randomly, of course, to be fair ) - although, it obviously isn't as simple as that - consciously killing someone is less ethical than to leave them to die.

    I would love the people of the world to have an equal distribution of resources (or something close to it), but giving money to poor countries where they typically have lots of children in order that enough resources can be garnered for the family is just contributing to the problem.

    Everybody has the right to life (with maybe a few exceptions...) and it is unfortunate that people have to give money due to inequality, but helping people who are already poor survive means that they are creating more people who will have an added devastating effect on the world, making more people poor...and dead.

    I just want to make it clear that I don't condone the killing of people, I'm not a racist, and that I don't have an answer to the problem - I just wanted to see whether there was an ethical answer to this, because just doing nothing obviously has it's problems, as I said.

    On an individual basis, everybody could have no children and conserve resources, but the global population increases mean that somewhere down the line, loads of people are certain to die in mass famine etc. (they already are). I think it would wrong not to help such people in such situations, and it's also wrong to play god (though I'm an atheist ) and talk down on the world about what is right (as I have done in this thread) e.g. telling people not to have children or to lay down and die , because every person has a right to a life where they make their own decisions.

    Send answers on a postcard to: UN Headquarters, New York
    or just post them here, it's cheaper and has less of an impact on the environment.
    EII-Ne
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    ...I know, but I don't have any answers but to wait and watch what happens with popcorn.
    All Hail The Flying Spaghetti Monster

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    ...I know, but I don't have any answers but to wait and watch what happens with popcorn.
    (What..you evil...) Yeah, same here. You should try and avoid popcorn, though, it does serious damage to the teeth. Hang on, wasn't I talking about something really importa...Nevermind. Isn't it great you can watch these things 24 hours a day from the comfort of your living room?
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    bye
    IEI - the nasty kind...

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    There is actually a scientist who gave a talk at a conference (I'll find a link later if I can) whose solution was to infect the greater population with a serious disease, sort of like the bird flu, but make sure that a holy chosen few were given an antedote. His long speech was met with vast amounts of cheers, apparently from people who believed that they were in the antedote crowd.

    It's sort of scary to think that way, but if the projection is to be believed, lots of people are going to die either way. I think I might prefer natural selection though.
    All Hail The Flying Spaghetti Monster

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    i think that the problems you mention (overpopulation, environmental damage, global warming, limited resources, etc) are the most severe crises facing humanity today. however, you are oversimplifying them somewhat. it is not, for example, necessarily correct to simply say that as resources become depleted, people will die. in actuality, the situation is extremely unpredictable. it is impossible to say with certainty what exactly will occur, but the more likely cause of the reduction of the quality of life is that absurd human growth simply stretches beyond humanity's capacity to provide for everybody.


    in terms of simply killing people now to avoid this threat, it is not a new idea and it would work on a number of levels if seriously considered, but it will never be implemented for obvious reasons.

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    i disagree that the world need suffer this crisis. resources can be "created" to fix the problem. one simple thing for example would be the creation of nanofilters for the desalinization of ocean water so that the freshwater supply ceases to be a factor that limits growth. i am actually rather an oddball in that i favor massive population growth (albeit by technological means) to further humanity's ability to generate solutions for problems. the only thing i think we need to worry about are 1) worldwide catastrophe that isn't survivable (ie earth is blasted by gamma radiation) b) the simultaneous suicide of the human race (this is a process that takes time to develop)

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    Default Re: The Earth problem..thing

    .............

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    SubT ---


    I've been thinking about setting up a sort of global think tank on how to deal with real world, global issues. Everybody whines about it and calls it doomsday....

    well, if human beings are worth two peices of shit in terms of the history of the universe, the should be able to do something about this, other than whine. That's how I look at it.

    Real people really looking at the issues. Brush prejudices aside, get down to business. But I'm afraid people will just act like ...... the same oranisms they have for the last 2000 years.

    How slow we learn!
    Pre-2013 post are written with incomplete understanding.

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    Quote Originally Posted by UDP II
    Real people really looking at the issues. Brush prejudices aside, get down to business.
    good idea. go do that, and inform us of your progress before you give up in depair due to the evident stupidity of those populating the planet around you.

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    i really do think we are thinking about it and doing stuff about it already. albeit rather imprecisely, sloppily, with not enough resources being devoted to it, and in a rather disorganized manner. global hive mind coalesces more daily

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    Default Re: The Earth problem..thing

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean
    Right, so the whole world's resources are being consumed at a faster rate than they are being replenished, yet the human population is growing at an exponential rate...nature's way of fixing things is to have a die back to restore balance (the problem with humans is that their technological balances allow them to go further than other animals).
    You are generallizing from a subset (i.e. the one of oil) to the greater set (i.e. the one of resources) which is incorrect. Oil is being consumed at a faster rate that its replenishment but:

    1)Malthus was the first one to propose this argument 3 centuries ago, and guess what, it never worked out as he thought.
    2)There is a dynamical process involved: you are speaking here as if the situation at hand was modeled by two diff. equation one exponential and one linear, stop, whereas it's clear as the sun that there are time processes involved
    3)What do you mean by "techonolgical balances"? There are animals that die of extinction every day; how do you distinguish this with the fact that humans die due to their techonology? Suppose a certain species of tiger dies because they end up eating all the reserves around their place of living because they are too phyisically strong. Would you say that their technology is too advanced and therefore they cannot live?

    If the human population is guaranteed to have a massive dieback in the future, it is 'obviously' better to decrease the population now (i.e. kill people) so that less people die in the future - but as you can see, his is highly unethical.
    What? You are so secure in your prediction that I am completely baffled. Please link me to some models that predict the doomsday you're describing here, in detail. Otherwise, I can't help but thinking you're being unobjective.

    The advantages of this would also be that species necessary to keep the world's ecosystems don't become extinct, whereas if we do nothing, our desire for resources means that they won't have any, and they will die out.
    Yet how do you decide which species are necessary to keep the ecosystem? I never understand why people separate humans from animals: if we are to take an holistic stance, human techonology can only be classified as an extension of the natural earth's ecosystem and nothing else. Therefore, the purposeful killing of humans would not necessarily provide an aid to his balancement.

    So, unless you believe things will sort themselves out naturally, it is actually less ethical to do nothing than to go round killing people (randomly, of course, to be fair )
    Non sequitor. You said it is unheathical, now you say it is ethical, but you have not provided any clear evidence on why your insight should be true, instead preferred to make some statements which might, or might be not, supported.


    I would love the people of the world to have an equal distribution of resources
    This is clearly not a good thing since there are individuals which are more skilled at managing resources and individuals which are less so (and, actually, that prefer not to manage them and leave it to something else). I do agree to a certain extent with you, though: I think that land should necessarily be publicized and its private property be completely eradicated, but that's just because the usual principle of appropriation via claiming lacks logical foundations.


    Everybody has the right to life (with maybe a few exceptions...) and it is unfortunate that people have to give money due to inequality, but helping people who are already poor survive means that they are creating more people who will have an added devastating effect on the world, making more people poor...and dead.
    Again you are not taking into account that the system is not freaking statical. Depending on its form it might degenerate as you describe, or first degenerate then reblossom, etc...since you seem so sure, then probably you have some model to back up your assertions (I hope)
    Obsequium amicos, veritas odium parit

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    Default Re: The Earth problem..thing

    Subterranean, none of what you mentioned are problems, and nothing you propose is a viable solution, even if they were. Indeed, the only answer to the "Earth problem thing" is best summed up in a phrase first used by 18th century French physiocrats: Laissez faire, laissez aller, laissez passer.

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    the obvious/ distastfull answer to all this is to overcome canibalism taboos and start using humans as a food source. Also a technique to convert humans into oil would solve the fossil fuel issues.

    this is said jokingly of course :wink:

    I tend to agree with those who say the problem is not what it's made out to be. The planet is cabable of recovering from whatever we might inflict upon it, even if that means scrapping the whole deal and starting over from scratch. Also all it takes is the right pandemic and there goes the overpopulation issues.

    Also what Pedro said about population is true IMO. An increase in population allows for more and better ideas on how to extract and use resources. I forgot where I read this, I think it was some Soviet resource assesment, but it basically stated that the key is in the rate of technological development. As long as the pace can be kept up we are able to find and use entirely new resources faster than we can exhaust the old ones. eg uranium trumps out fossil fuels, desalination replaces fresh-water usage, etc...

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    What I meant about technology was that with natural selection there is an arms race between organisms and a limited number of resources, but with humans the technology can always be refined to use something else - if animals needed oil, they would be stuffed, but we go and use something else (wood etc.)- and all this means that animals are stuffed, rather than us - at least at the present time.

    The biodiversity of the planet needs to be maintained in order that ecosystems remain in balance - you can say that there are millions more species, but humans aren't putting species back (not yet anyhow).

    Technological progress could be used to reverse the negative effects of humanity, but this is yet to happen - when you are talking about the melting of vast ice sheets and the destruction of ancient rainforests, it is much cheaper both financially and in terms of life to do something about it now. E.g. it's better to clean water before you release it in to the (largely) unpolluted water system, because if the water system becomes too polluted to drink, you have to remove chemicals that may need expensive technology.

    Changing the equilibrium of the earth may also have an accelerated effect (positive feedback) - e.g. the melting of the icecaps will release ancient CO2 in the ice, increasing global warming, helping the ice melt faster - CO2 in rocks will also be released at a greater rate. Although the increased temperature will help plants photosynthesize, there is a limit to what they can cope + operate with + the increased fires will destroy vegetation. There will also be increased desertification.

    The optimist approach of those who support technology as the answer denies the fact people are dying of natural disasters now, though I admit this is the only viable solution, apart from making decisive choices. When I said that there will be huge setbacks in the future, I meant that the changes bought on by reducing CFCs and the pisspoor effort at reducing carbon emissions will do little to reduce the problem - even if we stop now, the lag will take a few decades (therefore it's likely to get worse - even if its the same, there's gonna be a lot of deaths - the ever increasing pressure for resources won't help).

    I know what I said wasn't particularly new or objective - I just assumed that people would have seen that Al Gore film and stuff . E.g. thirty years ago, snow was a regular occurence at the top half of Killimanjiro, now it isn't .

    FDG - you say it was a non sequitor, but I was just making a rubbish attempt at saying we're unethical no matter what we do - there isn't an obvious situation.

    Bionicgoat - cannibalism, huh? That is an efficient solution to the problem . (Oh, you were joking? Erm, oh yeah, so was I!).
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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean

    Technological progress could be used to reverse the negative effects of humanity, but this is yet to happen - when you are talking about the melting of vast ice sheets and the destruction of ancient rainforests, it is much cheaper both financially and in terms of life to do something about it now. E.g. it's better to clean water before you release it in to the (largely) unpolluted water system, because if the water system becomes too polluted to drink, you have to remove chemicals that may need expensive technology.
    precisely.

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    I'm all for the UDP perspective of bringing worldwide changes for the greater good...but if we are all stuffed and\or people are hostile to an uniform solution\model, then the goal is impossible, so why should I try? But then again, if the problem is solvable, then it's too easy and I can't do something of real merit! This is the sort of logic I'm going through at the moment - why do one thing over another, if everything's needs to be done? It just leads me to doing nothing at all . Enough about my tear inducing story, what about this whole earth problem?
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    what about it?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean
    The biodiversity of the planet needs to be maintained in order that ecosystems remain in balance - you can say that there are millions more species, but humans aren't putting species back (not yet anyhow).
    Mother Nature has maintained the biodiversity amidst numerous catastrophic events and rapid upheavals in environment as the Earth shifted and aged since the development of the biosphere. On what grounds do you propose us johnny-come-lately humans know better and ought to take over for nature? Something we do not fully understand, much less have any ability to control. Why not allow evolution to follow its course?

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    What kind of reasoning is that? Doing whatever the hell you what is nature, whereas trying to control what you do is wrong? Evolution is a blind process-it doesn't select favourable traits with a long term goal in sight. And after the world is completed screwed up, and only after can you say you were wrong? How can you compare another earth + evolutionary history to see if this is the right view to hold?

    If the actions are humans are part of evolution, then I hope their actions will doing something that will benefit the future of this planet (before it's inevitable demise by the sun, obviously ). You could say genocide and nuclear bombs are natural phenomenons, but I don't think it's wrong to be subjective sometimes and say nature doesn't know what's best .
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    Quote Originally Posted by cogsci
    Mother Nature has maintained the biodiversity amidst numerous catastrophic events and rapid upheavals in environment as the Earth shifted and aged since the development of the biosphere. On what grounds do you propose us johnny-come-lately humans know better and ought to take over for nature? Something we do not fully understand, much less have any ability to control. Why not allow evolution to follow its course?
    ummm... yes... nature has gradually preserved biodiversity throughout a period of about three billion years, during which living organisms have gradually adapted to better fit their environment. such geological changes have not generally changed as abruptly as the changes we are inflicting on the environment. comparing the change in the environment now as compared to previous alterations is completely inappropriate.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean
    What kind of reasoning is that? Doing whatever the hell you what is nature, whereas trying to control what you do is wrong?
    No, I think controlling what I do is just fine. I don't care to control what other people do.

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean
    Evolution is a blind process-it doesn't select favourable traits with a long term goal in sight.
    And? That blind process gave us an astounding intellect. That blind process replenished the Earth with fauna and flora when greater than 70% of marine and land species were wiped out at the P-T boundary. That blind process has exceeded the ability of our human engineers in many areas with an extensive and rigorous trial-and-error method. The process is flawless; it does not need goals, it simply acts.

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean
    And after the world is completed screwed up, and only after can you say you were wrong? How can you compare another earth + evolutionary history to see if this is the right view to hold?
    Funny, I was about to ask you the same. On what basis can you claim we're headed for our own doomsday?

    Nature itself is a resource. You are right we should not abuse it, but we would be foolish not to utilize it for our benefit. Selective cutting and replanting can save a lot of trees, not to mention reduce the risk of wildfires and keep the timber industry in business. As technology improves, cleaner industries will develop and reduce atmospheric emissions (though technology can also help us cope with the changes in atmosphere, as easily as it helps us cope with anything). Animals are a part of nature, too, and are also at our mercy. This is the natural order of things. We can do with them what we please, which does not have to mean eating them all or wearing all their furs as coats (although nothing can stop us from either). We can purchase several hundred thousand acres, introduce some animals, and call it a preserve; we can purchase an aquarium or sea body; we can own them as pets; we can own a farm, or a zoo; and when we do use animals for one reason or another (be it meat, fabric, ivory, bubblegum, or what have you), we can find ways to maximize the profit potential of each carcass so much of the animal does not go to waste.

    These are but a few examples of what is or could potentially be possible in the future. It is by no means an exhaustive list, and I do not intend on debating our options in every single hypothetical disaster you can conceive of. The important thing to remember is that nature is a resource. Consequently, humans have grappled with issues of resource management since there was a barter system. It took us many, many years to fully discover and explore a suitable system for efficiently allocating our scarce resources. It was a gradual evolution, and it took the effort of many great men in history to tie all the ends together. The tenets of the system are intuitive to most: it extols the virtues of individual sovereignty; the ability to call something your own; to enjoy the fruits of your effort; and has the additional quality of being utilitarian. Pure, unadulerated laissez-faire capitalism.

    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean
    If the actions are humans are part of evolution, then I hope their actions will doing something that will benefit the future of this planet (before it's inevitable demise by the sun, obviously ).
    I think mankind will do what is necessary to ensure our survival, and that is all the "hope" I need. If we are in any danger, it's not because we are rendering the Earth inhospitable. It's due to the corruption and immorality that is inherent in our governmental bodies.

    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17
    comparing the change in the environment now as compared to previous alterations is completely inappropriate.
    It was not a direct comparison. Obviously humans have impacted nature in a way that no other species has, but it doesn't mean nature is incapable of adjusting. Nor does it mean our present state of technology and affairs will persist.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cogsci
    It was not a direct comparison. Obviously humans have impacted nature in a way that no other species has, but it doesn't mean nature is incapable of adjusting. Nor does it mean our present state of technology and affairs will persist.
    how would you say nature is capable of adjusting to the damage we cause it? in the past, nature has been permanently altered based on numerous environmental changes that its inhabitants caused, such as the proliferation of oxygen on the planet as a result of the proliferation of some fungi who produced it as a waste product. oxygen has remained an integral part of the ecosystem since its creation.

    yes, nature has adjusted continuously and life has adjusted with it. what has generally happened as a result of radical changes, is the destruction of most of the organisms on the planet. humans place themselves in a similar situation; nature will adapt. it may not necessarily mean the end of the human race. it will, however, mean a significantly decreased standard of living.


    with regards to technology, no, the alteration of the earth can be combated. so far, humans haven't done jack shit about it. if humans aren't willing to contribute the necessary resources to prevent this disaster now, why would they later? and why would new technology necessarily solve our problems without creating new ones?

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    Quote Originally Posted by niffweed17
    it will, however, mean a significantly decreased standard of living.
    how? i mean let us say that things go far and above our worst expectations. as far as i know this would merely lead to more turbulent weather (hurricanes, etc) and more prevalent insect reproduction (which could lead to more disease) which would hardly mean an end to the human race or a necessarily decreased standard of living just a decreased area of land which is habitable (and that is negligible when compared to the areas opened up by climate change). am i missing some information on how this will be the doom of mankind? please inform me. i understand the Katrina argument but in places where such disasters occur people will cease rebuilding.

    i am not saying these things are insignificant but i hardly think they are the equivalent of say nuclear annihilation which (in my mind) seems to be a much more significant threat

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    to name just a few possibilities, higher incidence of disease, more natural disasters, increased ecological pollutants, perhaps the extinction of some species (that's already a severe issue just as a result of excessive demand, to the point where you might not be able to eat fish in 30 years), poorer air quality, poorer quality drinking water, less reliable farming (despite whatever this idiot may say, farming cannot happen effectively in a desert, period), the lack of plenty of products which are currently created by industrial processes that are less than ideal (ie anything dependent on most mining operations).

    just to name a very very brief set of issues.

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    i meant of global warming not population growth in general. for the most part though we already have those problems. the concern about these "crisises" is only hitting home now because western countries have less clout as world development evens out. we have already reached the point at which there are insufficient resources for everyone to live a western style of life (in terms of access to goods) for example

    my stance is that these are limiting growth factors on the human race but not anything even remotely close to as serious as annihilation

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    Quote Originally Posted by oyburger
    There is actually a scientist who gave a talk at a conference (I'll find a link later if I can) whose solution was to infect the greater population with a serious disease, sort of like the bird flu, but make sure that a holy chosen few were given an antedote. His long speech was met with vast amounts of cheers, apparently from people who believed that they were in the antedote crowd.

    It's sort of scary to think that way, but if the projection is to be believed, lots of people are going to die either way. I think I might prefer natural selection though.
    You're probably thinking of Dr. Pianka, he's a professor in Texas.

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    Cogsci - you say that the process of evolution is flawless, and yet humans could destroy all life on earth to prove you wrong. Although you could say that evolution could restart again (but not if we blow the earth to smithereens), but really evolution should be taken in a human context - if we don't want to preserve the planet to ensure the survival of our species, then some species will survive without us - but if we want to ensure our survival, we should maintain the equilibrium roughly as it is (if nature has adverse effects in the future by its own ends, we could alter it, but in the course of events (the universe) it's irrelevant.

    You say that evolution has given us the human brain - but without a context that doesn't matter - if evolution was consciously driven by me, I dare say it would do a better job. Three billion years? That sounds about right to me. Not too fast, not too slow. What planet\process are you comparing it to? Evolution isn't perfect, and humans have the benefit of hindsight and the analysis of their actions.

    In your previous post you said what right do humans have to take over mother nature, and yet you admit we can both destroy it and maintain it - You are saying that we should do a bit of this and a bit of that with no objectivity in what we do - a bit like the evolution process you say is better. Homo sapiens has been around for a few tens of thousands of years and yet we already have the power to manipulate evolution through selective breeding of animals and genetic engineering - things that evolution cannot do - although the product of that process can.

    Niffweed - I know that technology can restore the balance - but it won't easily restore extinct species, ancient rainforests, coal supplies, the icecaps etc.. You might say this is irrevelant, but I think we should use the benefit of the doubt - the technology isn't here yet and people are dying now.

    Ultimately, evolution carries on regardless of what we do to the earth - but if we care about our species and the survival of individuals, the health of the earth needs to be addressed now, rather than in the future

    S-A-M: yeah, but shouldn’t we stop famines and increased numbers of hurricanes etc. Plus, if there is large-scale uncontrolled global warming, there could lead to mass desirtification. Some people we have already go past the critical point. I know they can't agree on how bad it'll be, but it makes sense to minimalise damage by keeping the climate to what we know.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Typeless Wonder
    Quote Originally Posted by oyburger
    There is actually a scientist who gave a talk at a conference (I'll find a link later if I can) whose solution was to infect the greater population with a serious disease, sort of like the bird flu, but make sure that a holy chosen few were given an antedote. His long speech was met with vast amounts of cheers, apparently from people who believed that they were in the antedote crowd.

    It's sort of scary to think that way, but if the projection is to be believed, lots of people are going to die either way. I think I might prefer natural selection though.
    You're probably thinking of Dr. Pianka, he's a professor in Texas.
    Yes, I beleive that's him. Thank you, you saved me the effort of having to search for it
    All Hail The Flying Spaghetti Monster

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean

    Niffweed - I know that technology can restore the balance - but it won't easily restore extinct species, ancient rainforests, coal supplies, the icecaps etc.. You might say this is irrevelant, but I think we should use the benefit of the doubt - the technology isn't here yet and people are dying now.
    i agree with you. cleaner technology serves in this as a possible buffer to the environmental damage that humans inflict, if of course humans get it together to do something.

    technologies which appear new and different which cause no environmental damage often have their own disastrous consequences (i.e. nuclear technology. the advent of the car was also heralded this way because it eliminated the necessity of taking care of horses)

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    Quote Originally Posted by Subterranean
    yeah, but shouldn’t we stop famines and increased numbers of hurricanes etc.
    yes of course but i don't think killing a large percentage of the world population is necessary. i also think it is dangerous to infect with world with the european mindset in response to this crisis, namely having extremely low birth rates as an attempt to solve the crisis. why? because that is a retardation of life, rather impractical, and inevitably leads to a literally non-reproduceable structure. also, let us not forget that the countries which are causing the BULK of the problem are not the countries with the highest birth rates they are the most industrialized countries... us, europe, china will be a problem soon because it has become industrialized so rapidly...

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    thats not really true. the government of china has done plenty to contribute to the problems of the world environment.

    in fact, most european countries are much less of a problem than the US, and some african and asian industrializing countries. with the problem of population growth, when one considers the highest growing populations, you have china, india, bangladesh, brazil, in general all of south asia... these countries are, besides the US, which has its head way up its ass as far as environmental issues are concerned, among the most damaging. this has to do with exactly the fact that they are grossly overpopulated; more services and more pollution is necessary to support such a population. maybe europe's strategy isn't so great socially, but in terms of environmental issues europe, especially when great britain is excepted, they've been a million times more successful than other countries.

    in particular, iceland, denmark, and those countries in scandinavia have practically no pollution in comparison to the rest of the world.

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    and their solutions can, should, and ARE being exported to the world. whatever the means by which we combat the problem i think killing large swaths of the populace is unnecessary

    and the us is hardly overpopulated esp. compared to europe. 300 mill to about what? 550? the problem is the WASTE not JUST the people. we expect another 100 mill in what 30 years or so? dumb? yes, and limiting, but not catastrophic

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    Quote Originally Posted by science as magic
    and their solutions can, should, and ARE being exported to the world. whatever the means by which we combat the problem i think killing large swaths of the populace is unnecessary
    you may be right, but going out and killing half the people in china and india would help solve the problem.

    and the us is hardly overpopulated esp. compared to europe. 300 mill to about what? 550? the problem is the WASTE not JUST the people. we expect another 100 mill in what 30 years or so? dumb? yes, and limiting, but not catastrophic
    agreed. the US is not suffering from overpopulation as much as a long series of idiot politicians who have done nothing to address the problem.

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    It's not a question of overpopulation...America has 5% of the world's population, but causes 25% of the world's CO2 emissions - and they (i.e. Bush) use the excuse that they are going to develop some technology. (I won't go into the ethics of the American pioneers only have such a large piece of land due to the using of the ol' Colt on the American Indians cuz I come from the land that bought the British Empire :wink: , but you shouldn't think ''I'm American, the problem is already being fixed on my behalf'' - you should make a contribution as an individual (I haven't done much myself).

    Yeah, I admit it's a bit hard telling developing countries they must slow their development and\or not have children, that was the point of the thread , but both the pollution and the population things are important issues... I don't think it's unethical to tell people to have less children (in the context - if you don't, the earth won't be able to take it), just so long people have the free will to make their own decision.
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    i agree on both accounts. i think that china is correcting it's own problem rather nicely though and once contraception availability increases and culture changes as a result in india (and the rest of the world for that matter) the problem will be less significant than it would be were trends to continue. but trends CAN'T continue (at least in india) as they are because their population density is already so friggin' high.

    i know, i know, i'm crazy but i honestly think the solution is to transition to digital societies which can hold many more members with far less resource consumption. ah well, i've had my 2c. peace

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    I've copied a table from The Times (London) from last week's front cover - it's based on a report by a man called Stern who did a report for the British Government (don't know if you heard - all the headlines say 'A Stern Warning' :wink: - though the report is actually quite optimistic that if we act now, we can minimise damage - but I know politics doesn't work like that ).

    A temperature rise of 1°C may cause:
    Water – Glaciers in the Andes disappear, threatening water supplies for fifty million people.
    Food – Cereal yields rise in temperate regions.
    Health – At least 300,000 a year die from climate-related diseases, including malaria and diarrhoea; winter mortality rates drop in Northern Europe and U.S.
    Land – Thawing in Canada and Russia damages buildings and roads.
    Environment – An estimated 10 per cent of land species face extinction; coral reefs suffer 80 per cent bleaching.
    Impact – Atlantic Thermohaline circulation (density-drive circulation) starts to lose impact.

    A temperature rise of 2°C may cause:
    Water – 20 to 30 per cent less water available in Southern Africa and the Mediterranean.
    Food – Crop yields drop in tropical regions (by up to 10 per cent in Africa)
    Health – Up to 60 million Africans would be exposed to malaria.
    Land – Coastal flooding affects up to 10 million more people each year.
    Environment – An estimated 15-40 per cent of species face extinction. Among those most at risk are the polar bear and the caribou.
    Impact – Greenland ice sheet at risk of melting irreversibly; sea levels rise seven metres.

    A temperature rise of 3°C may cause:
    Water – Serious droughts in Southern Europe; up to 4 billion more people suffer shortages.
    Food – Up to 550 million more people are likely to go hungry.
    Health – Up to 3 million more people would die from malnutrition (if carbon fertilisation weak).
    Land – Coastal flooding affects up to 170 million more people each year.
    Environment – An estimated 20-50 per cent of species face extinction; the Amazon rainforest begins to die.
    Impact – Severe atmospheric changes; West Antarctic ice sheet threatened with collapse.

    A temperature rise of 4°C may cause:
    Water – Up to 50 per cent less water available in the Mediterranean and southern Africa.
    Food – Agriculture stops in parts of Australia and up to 35% less crops in Africa.
    Health – Up to 80 million more people would be exposed to malaria (repeated for 5°C).
    Land – Coastal flooding affects up to 300 million people each year.
    Environment – Half of the Arctic tundra disappears and half of the world’s nature reserves cannot fulfil objectives (repeated for 5°C).
    Impact – Circulation of water in the Atlantic stops.

    A temperature rise of 5°C may cause:
    Water – Possible disappearances of large glaciers in the Himalayas, affecting hundreds of millions of people in China and India.
    Food – Ocean acidity disrupts marine ecosystems and possibly fish stocks.
    Health - Up to 80 million more people would be exposed to malaria (repeated from 4°C).
    Land – Main cities such as London, New York and Tokyo and low-lying coastal areas such as Florida threatened by rising sea levels.
    Environment - Half of the Arctic tundra disappears and half of the world’s nature reserves cannot fulfil objectives (repeated from 4°C).


    A rise of more than 5°C would be a disaster on an unimaginable scale. Such a change in temperature would be equivalent to the rise that occurred between the last Ice Age and today. The exact effects are hard to gauge with current models because the temperatures are so far outside human experience.

    Temperatures represent increases relevant to pre-industrial levels. The impacts are expressed for a 1°C band around the central temperature, e.g. 1°C represents the range 0.5°C to 1.5°C.
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    Apparently a coal based power station is opening once every two days in China - at this rate, within 2 years, the amount of CO2 extra will equal that of the UK (pop. c. 60 million) - so 10 years for America. China has a population of about 1.5 billion - but it's the pollution as much as the population. You can't just say the population of America will increase dramatically from illegal immigrants etc. - the people don't come Mars (more like Mexico) so it doesn't matter where they leave, unless the government has some really, really effective policy.
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    Here is my solution to this... ... ... ... well first let me figure out what the goal is and who benefits... Ok so if the goal is to reduce the population and propetuate humanity as a whole without any bias... this is hard... err... i would instead of destroying ethics try to attack reproduction instead of living people. Allow people to live out their lives as they were promised but deny them reproduction. I would declare a fake war with a non existing entity in space and then tell the public that the extraterrestrials are using biological agents against us... the vaccine will actually steralize the person who uses it. Also... social engineering can make it possible to make men feel inferior to women and then make it so that reproduction slows down.

    .... Im trying to figure out what biologically happens to a fat person who is stuck in a small box and is getting fatter...... This may yield a solution... but it seems like it translates to massive wars...... i think thats what it will come down to, thats always been the way problems were solved. And who ever wins will most likely be the fittest... although that fitness may have a dependency that is now dead.... errr... this is a tough one.
    -Slava


    What a great replacement for a nany

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    umm... what the hell are you talking about?

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