Are we living in the End Times?


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EntrerisShadow wrote:
I don't even know where to begin with this. You're comparing apples to oranges here.

So I'm comparing one fruit to another. Which is something nutritional science does all of the time.

Seriously, you perfectly set me up for that one :P

Quote:
The atomic bomb concern was a small fraction of scientists worried about the possibility of a chain reaction. A better example would be the small fraction of people who thought the large hadron collider would open up a black hole. They were there, certainly, but a fringe group that were almost universally dismissed out of hand. It's hardly anywhere near the consensus we have on climate change.

The black hole issue isn't a case of scientists predicting something would happen that didn't happen, but scientists blowing the results of something that is perfectly possible entirely out of proportion. Last time I read anything on black holes forming within Earth's atmosphere, it was supposedly a theoretically frequent occurrence; just the sheer tiny size of them, combined with their often extremely short lifespans, means people never notice.

The CERN reactor creating a microscopic black hole would never be a danger because the black hole would be too small to override Earth's gravity. Plus, gravitational singularities like black holes need large amounts of mass to remain stable; the absolute worst effect that CERN creating an artificial black hole and then losing containment would likely be irradiating part of the floor and having to shut down for a short period... and the black hole would probably be the least contributor to the radiation. And that's assuming they don't already have procedures in place, which given the materials they work with would require a massive show of incompetence from them.

Given they're playing around with one of the Higgs-Boson class of particles, I would say the chances of them having that level of incompetence are essentially nonexistent.

Also, take a look at the examples I did use and note what each of them has in common: At the time, it was emerging science that was incomplete. With nuclear weapons, humanity really didn't get a good grasp on them and the physics behind them until after the fusion bomb was invented; these people were literally playing around with weapons they did not fully understand the power of, but which they took precautions with precisely because they knew they didn't know the full power. With the population issue, it was a case of them trying to make a prediction without fully considering what discoveries might be made; science has since learned, which is why there are multiple scenarios instead of a singular that are considered when trying to plot future events. CERN didn't apply as an example because the LHC was built with the scientists knowing exactly what it is capable of based on refinements of an existing science that has been established for quite awhile.

Climate science, specifically the portions of it that predicted humanity's doom, is one that fits in with the examples I gave; it was predicting the demise of humanity without having any clue what the actual capacity of humanity to exterminate itself is. They've since refined that; that's why, at current, none of the models of future climate considered most accurate come anywhere close to predicting the demise of humanity. Climate science has accepted that, no matter what, most of the effects of what we're doing are not going to be seen for decades and that humanity, and life on Earth, is going to survive it. What they are saying is that it's going to be the worst period in human history where it comes to survival rate for humans, but we will survive it. And when I say worst period, that's including the period where a comet or asteroid tried to take out humanity.

Quote:
I don't know enough about China's one-child-policy to say what lead to it, but if what you say is true, then again there's an enormous difference between clinging to policy in light of debunking evidence, and refusing to acknowledge legitimate findings.

China's case is unique. Pretty much, they had a leader who put in place policies that encouraged a population explosion. Their one-child-policy results from efforts to combat that and the resulting crisis of simply feeding people they ended up dealing with combined with science at the time telling them they pretty much hit an apocalyptic scenario.

Unfortunately, thanks to how things went after that, they really don't have the infrastructure to do away with the policy. They could get it... but they would need to abandon all ideas of doing anything beneficial for the environment in order to meet the necessary supply demands for the infrastructure growth. This is in no small part because of the lack of infrastructure for, well, anything modern that they had before the Communists came along.

So China's one-child-policy is actually highly relevant for the issue of combating climate change, as it demonstrates how a developing nation implementing a solution science advocates to an apocalyptic scenario science has identified can actually cripple that nation in adapting to science marching on in that area. This is something important to consider, especially in light of growing evidence that none of the alternative energy solutions currently under consideration will do anything to reduce CO2 output or even necessarily slow its growth.

Grand Lodge

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lorenlord wrote:

Maybe large-scale EMP's, which seems to be the reason the military seems to be scrambling to "harden" everything? So build yourselves lots of Farraday(sp?) Cages.

Wouldnt end the world, but the human population would rapdily be decimated.

And what good would those cages be when every transformer that supplies power is blown out?


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LazarX wrote:
lorenlord wrote:

Maybe large-scale EMP's, which seems to be the reason the military seems to be scrambling to "harden" everything? So build yourselves lots of Farraday(sp?) Cages.

Wouldnt end the world, but the human population would rapdily be decimated.

And what good would those cages be when every transformer that supplies power is blown out?

A lot of transformers are being moved underground, where they would be naturally shielded against EMPs.


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Jaelithe wrote:

Yes, because when people in lab coats start clucking that the sky is falling, it must be true.

EntrerisShadow wrote:
Wow, arrogant much? I definitely trust those 'people in lab coats' - that is, people who have dedicated their entire lives to studying and understanding natural phenomena - when they overwhelmingly agree there going to be potentially catastrophic consequences, to the drivel of anti-intellectual knuckle-draggers who think their lack of education on the matter somehow makes their opinions more valid.

I think you'd better check your above sentence. You dropped a few words along the way—which is not to say that you didn't make your point with a certain style.

I'll assume for the sake of board amity that you're not calling me an "anti-intellectual knuckle-dragger." If you are, well ... basing that on a single throwaway comment at a message board says more about you than me. If you aren't, then pardon my touchiness.

I didn't (and never would) dismiss the scientific method out of hand (since I value it immensely), or say that all or even many such warnings have no value or validity. But I have heard theories on impending disaster that were later dismissed as so unlikely as to be functionally impossible, and others postulated solely for the purposes of garnering publicity and sounding like a kewl science guy.

Some are correct and others, not so much. But if I took to heart every herald of the apocalypse, I'd be likely unable to live my life without constant fear of imminent death.

So I'll listen and evaluate, rather than giving the harbingers of catastrophe immediate credence.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
MagusJanus wrote:
[Also, take a look at the examples I did use and note what each of them has in common: At the time, it was emerging science that was incomplete. With nuclear weapons, humanity really didn't get a good grasp on them and the physics behind them until after the fusion bomb was invented; these people were literally playing around with weapons they did not fully understand the power of, but which they took precautions with precisely because they knew they didn't know the full power. With the population issue, it was a case of them trying to make a prediction without fully considering what discoveries might be made; science has since learned, which is why there are multiple scenarios instead of a singular that are considered when trying to plot future events. CERN didn't apply as an example because the LHC was built with the scientists knowing exactly what it is capable of based on refinements of an existing science that has been established for quite awhile..

The most powerful atom smashers built on this planet pale in power to Nature's own cosmic rays which impact our magnetic fields on a daily basis. There is virtually nothing that Man has done that has not been replicated on a far more powerful or efficient basis by Nature itself.

The LHC is not a threat to reality in any form. i do however hope that they are disposing their electronic waste in an environmentally friendly manner.


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Jaelithe wrote:
Jaelithe wrote:

Yes, because when people in lab coats start clucking that the sky is falling, it must be true.

EntrerisShadow wrote:
Wow, arrogant much? I definitely trust those 'people in lab coats' - that is, people who have dedicated their entire lives to studying and understanding natural phenomena - when they overwhelmingly agree there going to be potentially catastrophic consequences, to the drivel of anti-intellectual knuckle-draggers who think their lack of education on the matter somehow makes their opinions more valid.

I think you'd better check your above sentence. You dropped a few words along the way—which is not to say that you didn't make your point with a certain style.

I'll assume for the sake of board amity that you're not calling me an "anti-intellectual knuckle-dragger." If you are, well ... basing that on a single throwaway comment at a message board says more about you than me. If you aren't, then pardon my touchiness.

I didn't (and never would) dismiss the scientific method out of hand (since I value it immensely), or say that all or even many such warnings have no value or validity. But I have heard theories on impending disaster that were later dismissed as so unlikely as to be functionally impossible, and others postulated solely for the purposes of garnering publicity and sounding like a kewl science guy.

Some are correct and others, not so much. But if I took to heart every herald of the apocalypse, I'd be likely unable to live my life without constant fear of imminent death.

So I'll listen and evaluate, rather than giving the harbingers of catastrophe immediate credence.

Immediate? Global warming has been known of as a serious threat for decades. The evidence and the consensus has only grown stronger.

Sure there have been other theories of impending disaster for science guys. Most were either from crackpots or presented as remote possibilities from the start (and then sometimes hyped by the media as real threats). Some were actually avoided or minimized because action taken on the basis of such warnings - which then become examples of crazy scientists warning about disasters that didn't happen.

The people in lab coats, if you let a bunch of them talk it out for a few years and trust the consensus of the experts in the field, rather than the loudest media voices, have a much better track record on disasters than anyone else predicting them. Or loudly proclaiming there's no problem.


thejeff wrote:
Immediate? Global warming has been known of as a serious threat for decades. The evidence and the consensus has only grown stronger.

And when did I dismiss the idea of global warming as a problem?

Quote:
Sure there have been other theories of impending disaster for science guys. Most were either from crackpots or presented as remote possibilities from the start (and then sometimes hyped by the media as real threats). Some were actually avoided or minimized because action taken on the basis of such warnings - which then become examples of crazy scientists warning about disasters that didn't happen.

In other words, there are credible voices in science, and others that are not so credible. Sounds like just about every other field of endeavor.

Quote:
The people in lab coats, if you let a bunch of them talk it out for a few years and trust the consensus of the experts in the field, rather than the loudest media voices, have a much better track record on disasters than anyone else predicting them. Or loudly proclaiming there's no problem.

If they're talking it out for a few years, that would hardly constitute running around saying, "The sky is falling," now would it?

I think you're trying to convince of something I already believe, and that you, too, would dismiss the brayings I meant to be flippant about.


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(1) The human race will survive, no matter what. We are too intelligent, adaptable, and competitive to die out just because we fundamentally alter the nature of our planet.

(2) The human race is suffering because of its population. Until it is willing to admit this simple fact, it will suffer as the global average death rate must necessarily catch up with the global average birth rate. The laws of physics disallow any other conclusion. Thus, life is going to seriously suck for humanity at some point in the future, period.

So yeah, I'm personally tired of doomsday scenarios from scientists about nuclear winter, peak oil, global warming, pandemics, or anything else that might cost trillions of dollars and billions of lives, but doesn't address the fundamental cause of it all: We refuse to stop breeding. Putting lipstick on the pig and blaming it on something else like global warming is ignoring the inevitable.

I am tired of global corporations declaring that "technology will provide", and basing entire economies on infinite growth.

I am tired of religions declaring that "God will provide", and blocking all suggested methods of population control.

Right now, today, the planet could not support everyone living at the standards of a person in the First World.

That's a good sign that, "How we would like to live," and, "How many of us there are," are two fundamentally incompatible concepts. Already.

=====
Would you like a solution to virtually all of the world's problems? Track every person on the planet. As soon as they have fathered/mothered 2 children, sterilize them. In 100-200 years, you'll have a planet that's very pleasant to live on, WITHOUT a few billion people living in abject poverty.

I'd go on, but I like to say appalling things and then let others get a word in edgewise...

===========================================================
EDIT: In case people are wondering, since this *HAS* become a discussion on global warming, I personally do believe that human activity is causing worldwide climate change. I just believe that major governments and corporations are willing to take the potential trillions in losses and hundreds of millions in lives lost taking a "wait and see" attitude rather than doing anything about it. I'm a horrific pessimist -- I believe they're just going to look at the potential damages, say, "Meh, we can deal with that," and ignore the problem.
So a long-term solution is far more important than trying to convince them that they need to do something unprofitable in the short term.

Grand Lodge

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Pathfinder Adventure, Rulebook Subscriber; Pathfinder Battles Case Subscriber
Jaelithe wrote:
I think you're trying to convince of something I already believe, and that you, too, would dismiss the brayings I meant to be flippant about.

Violent agreement is a holiday tradition around here after all. :)


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NobodysHome wrote:


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Would you like a solution to virtually all of the world's problems? Track every person on the planet. As soon as they have fathered/mothered 2 children, sterilize them. In 100-200 years, you'll have a planet that's very pleasant to live on, WITHOUT a few billion people living in abject poverty.

I'd go on, but I like to say appalling things and then let others get a word in edgewise...

Well, except for the fallout (metaphorical and literal) from the wars and the global dictatorship you'd need to make that happen.

When really it pretty much happens anyway with education, opportunity and access to birth control.


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thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


=====
Would you like a solution to virtually all of the world's problems? Track every person on the planet. As soon as they have fathered/mothered 2 children, sterilize them. In 100-200 years, you'll have a planet that's very pleasant to live on, WITHOUT a few billion people living in abject poverty.

I'd go on, but I like to say appalling things and then let others get a word in edgewise...

Well, except for the fallout (metaphorical and literal) from the wars and the global dictatorship you'd need to make that happen.

When really it pretty much happens anyway with education, opportunity and access to birth control.

A beautiful point. The population is stagnating in First World countries, and still exploding in Third World countries. Educating women has been repeatedly shown to be the #1 form of birth control.

I didn't claim my plan was realistic... just idealistic.


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NobodysHome wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


=====
Would you like a solution to virtually all of the world's problems? Track every person on the planet. As soon as they have fathered/mothered 2 children, sterilize them. In 100-200 years, you'll have a planet that's very pleasant to live on, WITHOUT a few billion people living in abject poverty.

I'd go on, but I like to say appalling things and then let others get a word in edgewise...

Well, except for the fallout (metaphorical and literal) from the wars and the global dictatorship you'd need to make that happen.

When really it pretty much happens anyway with education, opportunity and access to birth control.

A beautiful point. The population is stagnating in First World countries, and still exploding in Third World countries. Educating women has been repeatedly shown to be the #1 form of birth control.

I didn't claim my plan was realistic... just idealistic.

Wouldn't the idealistic plan be to educate the women? Might not be more realistic, but I'd rather strive for the less brutal alternative.


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thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


=====
Would you like a solution to virtually all of the world's problems? Track every person on the planet. As soon as they have fathered/mothered 2 children, sterilize them. In 100-200 years, you'll have a planet that's very pleasant to live on, WITHOUT a few billion people living in abject poverty.

I'd go on, but I like to say appalling things and then let others get a word in edgewise...

Well, except for the fallout (metaphorical and literal) from the wars and the global dictatorship you'd need to make that happen.

When really it pretty much happens anyway with education, opportunity and access to birth control.

A beautiful point. The population is stagnating in First World countries, and still exploding in Third World countries. Educating women has been repeatedly shown to be the #1 form of birth control.

I didn't claim my plan was realistic... just idealistic.

Wouldn't the idealistic plan be to educate the women? Might not be more realistic, but I'd rather strive for the less brutal alternative.

I favorited you because it's a beautiful thought. I'd just LOVE it if people stopped considering birth control brutal.

I had two kids. I got snipped. It wasn't hard. It *IS* harder for women, I'll admit, but seriously. Calling birth control "brutal" just perpetuates the problem...

==========================
EDIT: OK, full disclosure for guys considering the procedure. I have two distinguishing genetic characteristics. Fortunately, they are complimentary:
(1) I have a disturbingly high resistance to pain.
(2) I am nearly immune to novocain. (My dentist played around with it once, and pegged me at requiring 6x normal dosage.)

So the procedure was agonizing for me, personally, but I think that fell into category (2), and category (1) let me sit through it and get out of there intact. It was still an outpatient procedure.


NobodysHome wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


=====
Would you like a solution to virtually all of the world's problems? Track every person on the planet. As soon as they have fathered/mothered 2 children, sterilize them. In 100-200 years, you'll have a planet that's very pleasant to live on, WITHOUT a few billion people living in abject poverty.

I'd go on, but I like to say appalling things and then let others get a word in edgewise...

Well, except for the fallout (metaphorical and literal) from the wars and the global dictatorship you'd need to make that happen.

When really it pretty much happens anyway with education, opportunity and access to birth control.

A beautiful point. The population is stagnating in First World countries, and still exploding in Third World countries. Educating women has been repeatedly shown to be the #1 form of birth control.

I didn't claim my plan was realistic... just idealistic.

Wouldn't the idealistic plan be to educate the women? Might not be more realistic, but I'd rather strive for the less brutal alternative.

I favorited you because it's a beautiful thought. I'd just LOVE it if people stopped considering birth control brutal.

I had two kids. I got snipped. It wasn't hard. It *IS* harder for women, I'll admit, but seriously. Calling birth control "brutal" just perpetuates the problem...

Birth control isn't brutal. Forcing everyone to be sterilized would be brutal. Because of what you'd need to do to force compliance.


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thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


=====
Would you like a solution to virtually all of the world's problems? Track every person on the planet. As soon as they have fathered/mothered 2 children, sterilize them. In 100-200 years, you'll have a planet that's very pleasant to live on, WITHOUT a few billion people living in abject poverty.

I'd go on, but I like to say appalling things and then let others get a word in edgewise...

Well, except for the fallout (metaphorical and literal) from the wars and the global dictatorship you'd need to make that happen.

When really it pretty much happens anyway with education, opportunity and access to birth control.

A beautiful point. The population is stagnating in First World countries, and still exploding in Third World countries. Educating women has been repeatedly shown to be the #1 form of birth control.

I didn't claim my plan was realistic... just idealistic.

Wouldn't the idealistic plan be to educate the women? Might not be more realistic, but I'd rather strive for the less brutal alternative.

I favorited you because it's a beautiful thought. I'd just LOVE it if people stopped considering birth control brutal.

I had two kids. I got snipped. It wasn't hard. It *IS* harder for women, I'll admit, but seriously. Calling birth control "brutal" just perpetuates the problem...

Birth control isn't brutal. Forcing everyone to be sterilized would be brutal. Because of what you'd need to do to force compliance.

Unfortunately, I can't argue with that statement. Wouldn't it be wonderful if people could accept, "The greater good" as a reason and be done with it? (And let's just not wander into the atrocities that have been performed under that aegis, shall we?)


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NobodysHome wrote:
Unfortunately, I can't argue with that statement. Wouldn't it be wonderful if people could accept, "The greater good" as a reason and be done with it? (And let's just not wander into the atrocities that have been performed under that aegis, shall we?)

Those atrocities are why people cannot accept "the greater good" as a reason. Too many people have learned the hard way there is nothing good about the greater good.

Also, I am finding it interesting you're advocating a modified form of China's solution to population issues, which I brought up a bit earlier :P


You guys should stop rooting your concept of population growth in the 1950's.

Seriously, things have changed, go investigate the numbers.


Irontruth wrote:

You guys should stop rooting your concept of population growth in the 1950's.

Seriously, things have changed, go investigate the numbers.

Which numbers should we look at? It still looks to me like poverty and poor education for women are the drivers, as nearly everyone here has agreed to. Even Nobody's Home, despite his extreme proposal.


thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

You guys should stop rooting your concept of population growth in the 1950's.

Seriously, things have changed, go investigate the numbers.

Which numbers should we look at? It still looks to me like poverty and poor education for women are the drivers, as nearly everyone here has agreed to. Even Nobody's Home, despite his extreme proposal.

Maybe he's talking about the explosive population growth that set in during the 1960s?

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


=====
Would you like a solution to virtually all of the world's problems? Track every person on the planet. As soon as they have fathered/mothered 2 children, sterilize them. In 100-200 years, you'll have a planet that's very pleasant to live on, WITHOUT a few billion people living in abject poverty.

I'd go on, but I like to say appalling things and then let others get a word in edgewise...

Well, except for the fallout (metaphorical and literal) from the wars and the global dictatorship you'd need to make that happen.

When really it pretty much happens anyway with education, opportunity and access to birth control.

A beautiful point. The population is stagnating in First World countries, and still exploding in Third World countries. Educating women has been repeatedly shown to be the #1 form of birth control.

I didn't claim my plan was realistic... just idealistic.

Wouldn't the idealistic plan be to educate the women? Might not be more realistic, but I'd rather strive for the less brutal alternative.

You are aware that there are places where female education is not only discouraged, but at times violently opposed with either bloodshed or having female students literally kidnapped into slavery?

It's not a simple answer.


LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


Wouldn't the idealistic plan be to educate the women? Might not be more realistic, but I'd rather strive for the less brutal alternative.

You are aware that there are places where female education is not only discouraged, but at times violently opposed with either bloodshed or having female students literally kidnapped into slavery?

It's not a simple answer.

Of course not. I didn't say that one was realistic either. But it's still a better answer (and probably easier to approach) than sterilizing ever one after their second child.

Grand Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
thejeff wrote:
LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


Wouldn't the idealistic plan be to educate the women? Might not be more realistic, but I'd rather strive for the less brutal alternative.

You are aware that there are places where female education is not only discouraged, but at times violently opposed with either bloodshed or having female students literally kidnapped into slavery?

It's not a simple answer.

Of course not. I didn't say that one was realistic either. But it's still a better answer (and probably easier to approach) than sterilizing ever one after their second child.

If they failed to get people to sign in with that in the most centrally oriented, one of the most oppressive states on the planet, with a people whose very culture is steeped in the ideal of central control.... China itself, it won't fly anywhere.

What China's law did lead to, was a plague of female infanticides.


thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

You guys should stop rooting your concept of population growth in the 1950's.

Seriously, things have changed, go investigate the numbers.

Which numbers should we look at? It still looks to me like poverty and poor education for women are the drivers, as nearly everyone here has agreed to. Even Nobody's Home, despite his extreme proposal.

Probably the ones that indicate global population issues will solve themselves in the next 100 years. And that at some point governments are going to have to institute a 3rd child boon just to insure humanity doesn't die of old age.


LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
LazarX wrote:
thejeff wrote:
NobodysHome wrote:


Wouldn't the idealistic plan be to educate the women? Might not be more realistic, but I'd rather strive for the less brutal alternative.

You are aware that there are places where female education is not only discouraged, but at times violently opposed with either bloodshed or having female students literally kidnapped into slavery?

It's not a simple answer.

Of course not. I didn't say that one was realistic either. But it's still a better answer (and probably easier to approach) than sterilizing ever one after their second child.

If they failed to get people to sign in with that in the most centrally oriented, one of the most oppressive states on the planet, with a people whose very culture is steeped in the ideal of central control.... China itself, it won't fly anywhere.

What China's law did lead to, was a plague of female infanticides.

No s*&%. Which is why I said implementing his plan would require a brutal global dictatorship. And both of us agreed neither proposal was actually realistic.

But I'd still rather aim for educating women than sterilizing anyone with 2 kids.


BigDTBone wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

You guys should stop rooting your concept of population growth in the 1950's.

Seriously, things have changed, go investigate the numbers.

Which numbers should we look at? It still looks to me like poverty and poor education for women are the drivers, as nearly everyone here has agreed to. Even Nobody's Home, despite his extreme proposal.
Probably the ones that indicate global population issues will solve themselves in the next 100 years. And that at some point governments are going to have to institute a 3rd child boon just to insure humanity doesn't die of old age.

By solve themselves, I assume you mean "peak"?

We could let the population slide down a long way before we have to do anything to insure humanity doesn't die away.

It's also not at all clear where that peak will be or how much damage we'll do before the population drops again. Or if it will continue dropping.

Of course, technological or environmental changes could throw all the projections out the window. Either the effects of climate change or of peak oil could cause serious population crashes.


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thejeff wrote:
BigDTBone wrote:
thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

You guys should stop rooting your concept of population growth in the 1950's.

Seriously, things have changed, go investigate the numbers.

Which numbers should we look at? It still looks to me like poverty and poor education for women are the drivers, as nearly everyone here has agreed to. Even Nobody's Home, despite his extreme proposal.
Probably the ones that indicate global population issues will solve themselves in the next 100 years. And that at some point governments are going to have to institute a 3rd child boon just to insure humanity doesn't die of old age.

By solve themselves, I assume you mean "peak"?

We could let the population slide down a long way before we have to do anything to insure humanity doesn't die away.

It's also not at all clear where that peak will be or how much damage we'll do before the population drops again. Or if it will continue dropping.

Of course, technological or environmental changes could throw all the projections out the window. Either the effects of climate change or of peak oil could cause serious population crashes.

The opposite could also happen, depending on exactly how the changes affect humanity; some projections show climate change being very good for increasing our food supply, which historically has always led to population booms. There's also the fact that solving either problem could result in a population boom.

Of course, that's ignoring the ongoing disease issue that will be present, which could easily cause a massive depopulation issue (and, by current projections, will).

Overall, I think you and I both agree that it could easily be a very turbulent time on population numbers.

Sovereign Court

So you're saying that anti vaxers are doing a good thing?


Considering the other direction has been people being idiots and abusing antibiotics, and possibly vaccines, to the point that antibiotics are quickly becoming a thing of the past and viruses may be evolving faster?

Yes. But that's only because they've proven slightly less stupid than the other side.

When you forget to account for evolution in your applied biological science, you're verging on too dumb to live.

Counting as intelligent would have been using antibiotics, and vaccines if they're an issue, with some care to lessen the chance of adaptation and restraint to not throw them at every conceivable disease while still working to increase public health on the whole. Given the anti-vaxers are the only people who even remotely count as doing that, and that's still such of a long-shot that you could photograph Pluto during the trip out... I have absolutely no sympathy for medical science on this one.


There is a time-honoured tradition of considering population growth to be THE problem facing us all. I mean, everything comes from there, doesn't it? Even better, since the Western countries are actually LOSING people, it's a problem where the solution will entirely have to be implemented SOMEWHERE ELSE, on THOSE PEOPLE. The implications of this view of the world are... disturbing, to say the least.

Either way, the dynamics of population are not as simple as all that. The Black Death wasn't the saviour it should have been if population growth was THE problem. I mean, it killed a serious portion of the population, right? No. It brought MASSIVE changes that were very difficult to deal with. Societies learn to function at a certain population density, and while it may be difficult to adapt to a higher density, that is nothing compared to the troubles with a lower one. It's like inflation - it certainly is a problem, but compared to deflation? Easy as pie. Once the population starts dropping, and it will, according to the projections from a peak of 10 billion people, THAT is when things will become difficult to handle.

Expansion is better than the alternative. And to the argument that "you will never have the resources to send a significant number of people into new lands", I say "That's what they told the people who were the first to leave Africa too."

Finally, NobodysHome, I hope you can understand why I find a sterilized man's views on everyone else not getting more kids to be... less than relevant.


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MagusJanus wrote:

Considering the other direction has been people being idiots and abusing antibiotics, and possibly vaccines, to the point that antibiotics are quickly becoming a thing of the past and viruses may be evolving faster?

Yes. But that's only because they've proven slightly less stupid than the other side.

When you forget to account for evolution in your applied biological science, you're verging on too dumb to live.

Counting as intelligent would have been using antibiotics, and vaccines if they're an issue, with some care to lessen the chance of adaptation and restraint to not throw them at every conceivable disease while still working to increase public health on the whole. Given the anti-vaxers are the only people who even remotely count as doing that, and that's still such of a long-shot that you could photograph Pluto during the trip out... I have absolutely no sympathy for medical science on this one.

Given that antibiotics are far more of an issue than vaccines and that the anti-vaxers don't particularly have anything to say about antibiotics and that there are other groups arguing against the overuse of antibiotics (particularly in animal feed) and that the anti-vaxers reasons for opposing vaccines have nothing to do with what you're talking about, I wouldn't give the anti-vaxers any credit at all here.


Sissyl wrote:

There is a time-honoured tradition of considering population growth to be THE problem facing us all. I mean, everything comes from there, doesn't it? Even better, since the Western countries are actually LOSING people, it's a problem where the solution will entirely have to be implemented SOMEWHERE ELSE, on THOSE PEOPLE. The implications of this view of the world are... disturbing, to say the least.

Either way, the dynamics of population are not as simple as all that. The Black Death wasn't the saviour it should have been if population growth was THE problem. I mean, it killed a serious portion of the population, right? No. It brought MASSIVE changes that were very difficult to deal with. Societies learn to function at a certain population density, and while it may be difficult to adapt to a higher density, that is nothing compared to the troubles with a lower one. It's like inflation - it certainly is a problem, but compared to deflation? Easy as pie. Once the population starts dropping, and it will, according to the projections from a peak of 10 billion people, THAT is when things will become difficult to handle.

Expansion is better than the alternative. And to the argument that "you will never have the resources to send a significant number of people into new lands", I say "That's what they told the people who were the first to leave Africa too."

Finally, NobodysHome, I hope you can understand why I find a sterilized man's views on everyone else not getting more kids to be... less than relevant.

1) Since the solution that's best to be implemented on THOSE PEOPLE is improving their opportunities and educating their women, I'm not very disturbed by those implications. Just by the lack of focus on doing so.

2)Population Growth being the main problem now doesn't mean it was back in the 1300s. The growth curve has steepened sharply since then. There's also very little similarity between a population dropping by roughly a third in a few years and a slow long term decline over centuries.


If you are saying there is a problem with how THOSE PEOPLE live, that they are under the rule of dictators and live in poverty, yes. If it's about the women among them suffering and not having all the options we Westerners consider a part of life, yes. Those are problems. The number of people themselves is not a problem. Depending on your questions and definitions, you will find different, very different, answers. I am all for solving the issues of poverty and poor education OVER THERE. But... let's say a concerted effort is made to educate THEIR women, only it doesn't bring the hoped-for changes in some country. What will be the next proposition? Is it going to be looking at the number of people or their conditions for living?

Again, population growth is not the MAIN problem now, nor has it ever been. Lack of resources might be, and if so, we should solve those problems instead. If only people could focus on those issues instead of only chanting about how important it is to limit ourselves, save ourself out of the current crisis, make sure we reach zero growth, and so on.


Sissyl wrote:

If you are saying there is a problem with how THOSE PEOPLE live, that they are under the rule of dictators and live in poverty, yes. If it's about the women among them suffering and not having all the options we Westerners consider a part of life, yes. Those are problems. The number of people themselves is not a problem. Depending on your questions and definitions, you will find different, very different, answers. I am all for solving the issues of poverty and poor education OVER THERE. But... let's say a concerted effort is made to educate THEIR women, only it doesn't bring the hoped-for changes in some country. What will be the next proposition? Is it going to be looking at the number of people or their conditions for living?

Again, population growth is not the MAIN problem now, nor has it ever been. Lack of resources might be, and if so, we should solve those problems instead. If only people could focus on those issues instead of only chanting about how important it is to limit ourselves, save ourself out of the current crisis, make sure we reach zero growth, and so on.

Lack of resources. Pollution, including carbon. All of those problems get worse with population growth. Especially if we try to bring everyone out of poverty - which means using more resources and creating more pollution.

I reject your hypothetical. It's a) about as much of sure thing as anything in the social sciences can be
b) A ridiculous implied slippery slope.

I would also say that it's not just limited to THOSE PEOPLE OVER THERE. Changes in population in the 1st world (and especially the US) have far more effect, since people there consume far more resources.

Are you actually arguing for unlimited exponential growth, without attempts to limit resource use?


Remember what is the problem, thejeff. Once you consider people's existence a problem, you're walking a very dangerous line. That is of course not to say a high population isn't related to pollution, resource consumption, and so on. It just isn't itself the problem. Whether you call it a slippery slope is frankly not relevant.

Unlimited exponential growth is what humanity has been doing for thousands of years at least. It's how we function, what we do. We all have that T-shirt. Why? Because it brings certain pretty clear advantages: New opportunities that do not mean taking what someone else already has. The idea that our children might have options we do not. The possibility of actually improving things without having to tear something else down. The world has never been a zero-sum game, despite the insistence of uncountable left-wing pundits. In a word: Hope.

And now, people have struck on the idea to conserve, save, effectivize our way out of the climate crisis. Brilliantly enough, they do get their zero-sum game as a byproduct of the necessary policies for this.

That doesn't make it all true. For example: How much CO2 reduction has been managed as of today? How many years has the oil consumption decreased? The truth is: There is NO solution that way. NOTHING we do will save the climate through reduction and effectivization. The only possible way would be global dictatorship and slavery - and looking at how environmentally friendly those entities have been so far, there is no reason whatsoever to believe this wouldn't just make things WORSE. After all, given enough command of the media (a necessity for such a world order) would let the politicians silence reports of further environmental destruction, and nobody would even be able to go check in a world of tightly regulated personal travel. Those same politicians would then keep preaching that the CO2 levels have kept rising and further cuts in the living standard are necessary for the broad population layers.

Even if brutal cuts in pollution were made, the truth is that we wouldn't even dent the problem. Even the "NO more CO2 is emitted" scenarios don't look too hopeful, do they? So, don't spend the time and energy we do have trying to tilt at politically sacred windmills. Make sure we have the tools to adapt, solve the energy problem well enough to give us enough time to work on ways to expand our civilization instead. We aren't going to stay on Earth, just as we were never going to stay in Africa.


Sissyl wrote:

Remember what is the problem, thejeff. Once you consider people's existence a problem, you're walking a very dangerous line. That is of course not to say a high population isn't related to pollution, resource consumption, and so on. It just isn't itself the problem. Whether you call it a slippery slope is frankly not relevant.

Unlimited exponential growth is what humanity has been doing for thousands of years at least. It's how we function, what we do. We all have that T-shirt. Why? Because it brings certain pretty clear advantages: New opportunities that do not mean taking what someone else already has. The idea that our children might have options we do not. The possibility of actually improving things without having to tear something else down. The world has never been a zero-sum game, despite the insistence of uncountable left-wing pundits. In a word: Hope.

And now, people have struck on the idea to conserve, save, effectivize our way out of the climate crisis. Brilliantly enough, they do get their zero-sum game as a byproduct of the necessary policies for this.

That doesn't make it all true. For example: How much CO2 reduction has been managed as of today? How many years has the oil consumption decreased? The truth is: There is NO solution that way. NOTHING we do will save the climate through reduction and effectivization. The only possible way would be global dictatorship and slavery - and looking at how environmentally friendly those entities have been so far, there is no reason whatsoever to believe this wouldn't just make things WORSE. After all, given enough command of the media (a necessity for such a world order) would let the politicians silence reports of further environmental destruction, and nobody would even be able to go check in a world of tightly regulated personal travel. Those same politicians would then keep preaching that the CO2 levels have kept rising and further cuts in the living standard are necessary for the broad population layers.

Even if brutal cuts in pollution...

Yeah, but we left Africa as a decent place to live. We didn't destroy* it in the process of getting the first colonists elsewhere. And those colonists could walk out and keep living off the land. We don't know of any other places we could live as easily as we do here. We don't know how to get to any possibilities in less than generations, even theoretically. We don't have any idea how to terraform a planet into something we can live on.

Much less move a population in the billions faster than they can breed.
Those are damn slim odds to be betting on anytime in the next 100 years.
And any of those science fiction scenarios are likely to require far harsher rules than carbon reduction. Try living on a generation ship with a laissez-faire unlimited growth system.

*For the pedantic, read "destroy" as "render nearly uninhabitable".


thejeff wrote:
Irontruth wrote:

You guys should stop rooting your concept of population growth in the 1950's.

Seriously, things have changed, go investigate the numbers.

Which numbers should we look at? It still looks to me like poverty and poor education for women are the drivers, as nearly everyone here has agreed to. Even Nobody's Home, despite his extreme proposal.

The number of children is no longer increasing.

Over the next 60 years a great majority of population growth is going to come from people getting older, not from having more children.

Here's some interesting numbers for you from 2012:

China: 1.6
India: 2.5
United States: 1.9
Indonesia: 2.3

Those are the 4 most populous countries in the world. The replacement rate of fertility is 2.1 in the industrialized world. The world average required fertility is pegged around 2.3, but for some countries with high mortality it is 3.33.

Also, India's fertility rate in 1976 was 5. In 1988 it was 4.04. In 40 years it's dropped by half.

The idea that the world is still experiencing massive population growth is a myth. It is not supported by the facts.

There are some countries with high fertility rates, they tend to be smaller countries that suffer from the issues you described, plus are high in violence. Afghanistan for example has a fertility rate just over 5, but they only have a population of 30 million. They aren't going to push the global population that hard, plus it's very much offset by China's very low fertility.

Much more of a pressing problem in many industrialized nations is the lack of children. We will have aging populations without enough workers to maintain our economy and care for the elderly. Japan is already seeing this problem develop.


thejeff: We left Africa a decent place to live? Supported by... ummm... what, exactly? Considering the only records of this time are phylogenetic analyses of DNA, I would be very curious to hear if you have any such information.

Next up is "as easily as we do here". The African emigrants most certainly didn't come to somewhere where it was as easy to live as they were used to. Nor do I understand the argument at all. It's about finding new ways, not about "living as easily as we do here".

And yes, we DO know a thing or two about how to "get to any possibilities in less than generations". There is an entire solar system out there, full of space and energy for our taking.

As for "faster than they can breed", that was not what the African emigrants did. All the data we have point to a small group, likely a single family, moving out and leaving the rest of humanity behind because they were too interested in maintaining the status quo.

Your evaluation of the odds declines to give a number for the odds of humanity solving our current climate problems through saving and effectivizing.

Finally, "science fiction scenarios". You're right. If something is science fiction, that obviously means it's never going to happen, right?


Sissyl wrote:

thejeff: We left Africa a decent place to live? Supported by... ummm... what, exactly? Considering the only records of this time are phylogenetic analyses of DNA, I would be very curious to hear if you have any such information.

Next up is "as easily as we do here". The African emigrants most certainly didn't come to somewhere where it was as easy to live as they were used to. Nor do I understand the argument at all. It's about finding new ways, not about "living as easily as we do here".

And yes, we DO know a thing or two about how to "get to any possibilities in less than generations". There is an entire solar system out there, full of space and energy for our taking.

As for "faster than they can breed", that was not what the African emigrants did. All the data we have point to a small group, likely a single family, moving out and leaving the rest of humanity behind because they were too interested in maintaining the status quo.

Your evaluation of the odds declines to give a number for the odds of humanity solving our current climate problems through saving and effectivizing.

Finally, "science fiction scenarios". You're right. If something is science fiction, that obviously means it's never going to happen, right?

I don't even know what your scenarios are. Space stations? Terraforming Mars? Sure, there are uninhabitable rocks we can get a few people to at great expense.

And your "solution", if you're not removing people faster than they can breed, still leaves us with exactly the same problems here, even if there are also colonists out in space somewhere.

"We left Africa a decent place to live" as shown by the evidence that the vast majority of the human race at the time kept living there.


There are also many ways to get energy out there, like naturally occurring fusion, and lots of it. And given enough energy, it would make possible a lot more options for dealing with the situation here. Why is it that the only thing you think I suggest is "move a few people off-planet"?

And no, it is no such evidence. It is merely evidence that THOSE WHO REMAINED MANAGED TO ADAPT. Which is going to become necessary either way.

Still waiting for those odds, btw. What do you calculate the odds of humanity solving the climate crisis through saving and effectivizing to be?


We shouldn't be putting our eggs all in one basket. That means reducing human consumption and working towards a more environmentally sustainable future (part of which involves slowing population growth). It also means we should continue to explore avenues like space colonization by developing the necessary technologies.


Sissyl wrote:

There are also many ways to get energy out there, like naturally occurring fusion, and lots of it. And given enough energy, it would make possible a lot more options for dealing with the situation here. Why is it that the only thing you think I suggest is "move a few people off-planet"?

And no, it is no such evidence. It is merely evidence that THOSE WHO REMAINED MANAGED TO ADAPT. Which is going to become necessary either way.

Still waiting for those odds, btw. What do you calculate the odds of humanity solving the climate crisis through saving and effectivizing to be?

Because I've got no idea what you're suggesting other than not conserving and not limiting. And something about getting people off planet.

"Naturally occurring fusion"? You mean the Sun? Sure. The trick is trapping enough of it's energy. And getting it back down here, if you want to use it solve problems here, not just run a few probes and stations, has it's own set of problems.

Do you have any evidence whatsoever that humans caused massive changes in the African ecosystems before the first people (even the first homo sapiens) left? Leaving new conditions the remaining population had to adapt to? Because I've never seen that suggested or any evidence presented for it.

The odds? Pretty damn slim, especially since we're not really trying. Better than just ignoring it and hoping some magical technological solution appears to save us though. Mind you, since no one is advocating giving up research, we could get the magic technological solution either way.


*checks again*

Nope...still not the end times. ;-)


Are we living in the Beginning Times?

Seems like about as valid a question.


I'm not entirely sure what "End Times" even means. The end of the universe? The end of the Earth? The end of humanity?

Show me someone going on about the end times and I'll show you someone with a profound lack of historical perspective. :)


I thought the End Times meant the simultaneous discontinuing of the The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and The Colbert Report?

{goes back to banging drum in mourning}

Dark Archive

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Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Well Games workshop is doing there fantasy campaign called the end times maybe thats what there all on about?


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Gods be damned, I REALLY hope I am not living in a GW campaign...

Sovereign Court

After all they postulated the definition of grimdark

Scarab Sages

Hama wrote:
After all they postulated the definition of grimdark

Grimdark was my favorite of the cartoon Dinobots.


MMCJawa wrote:

We shouldn't be putting our eggs all in one basket. That means reducing human consumption and working towards a more environmentally sustainable future (part of which involves slowing population growth). It also means we should continue to explore avenues like space colonization by developing the necessary technologies.

Here's the problem: How do we do the bolded item while accomplishing the italicized?

I can't think of a single advancement in human history discovered as a result of truly scientific research that didn't involve a lot of waste output. Unfortunately, one of our biggest sectors for consumption of massive amounts of resources happens to be scientific research, with research into energy being one of the notable ones. Plus, human technological advancement has always been combined with an increase, not a decrease, in resource consumption; even alternative energy sources are guilty of this, as many of them have led to an increase in consumption of water, fossil fuels, or rare earth materials.

This is the basic challenge I've been asked a lot lately... how do we have both scientific advancement AND cutting resource consumption WITHOUT destroying human civilization in the process? The best minds of the world have given a go and, so far, their answers are either "let's go ahead with destroying civilization" or "we'll just have to wait until science advances more." In other words, we simply have to wait until science engineers us out of this mess.

Considering it was science engineering us out of the last potential environmental disaster that got us into this mess, I'm not hopeful. Overall, science has a very poor track record of actually solving problems without those solutions making things massively worse in the long run.

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