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4498Re: Why VHEMT? RE: Fwd: Opinions on VHEMT

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  • Alan Thomas
    Jan 23, 2014
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      "This 'responsible' 'zero-growth' reproduction has quadrupled the population in 75 years"

      Um, no.   Somehow you managed to forget that a lot of people die within a 75 year span. Or did you frame this as the parenting generation arriving on a new planet at generation zero?

      In any event, everyone having two children will eventually stabilise the population unless some kind of immortality ray or pill is invented.  

      (That said, I have four children and I'm glad of it. If I have 16 grandchildren or more I will be thrilled.)

      On Thursday, January 23, 2014, <rudrakrsh@...> wrote:

      Greetings and welcome, Darian,

      I know that proposing human extinction seems like a radical notion to eliminate all of the problems that overpopulation causes. You mention being disturbed by violence of a significant portion of humankind. Violence can be shown to exponentially increase as people become more crowded. That's not just true of humans: Rats also become violent when exposed to overcrowded conditions in cages. http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07488008708408759  There is a 1971 book _Crowding and Behavior_ that shows how crowding from overpopulation leads to violance. http://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=XA8Ho_aITVoC&oi=fnd&pg=PA133&dq=human+overcrowding+violence+-prison&ots=JvUHvWscpG&sig=9hM4OKwdkWY8Todr3GrNhsmg5YM#v=onepage&q=human%20overcrowding%20violence%20-prison&f=false   Note that in 1971, there were just over 4 billion people. Now, there are more than 7 billion people.

      Violence and war though are not the overwhelming concern. Wars, regardless of their outcomes, have always been followed by baby booms, and the population grows even faster. Indeed, with the articles I cited above and others, exposure to violence leads to a higher birth rate (from the stress???), making the crowding problem worse.

      There are a lot of more peaceful ways that the population could be reduced. One way is to greatly limit our number of children. That was proposed in the 1970s, but has not worked. Even when done coercively, such as China's 1 Child policy, the fact is that the average woman in China has had 2.7 children - higher than in the US.

      Contrary to popular notions, having 2 children will not keep the population stable! It increases it! Consider: If you (and your partner) had 2 children, rather than there being 2 of you, there are now 4. You've doubled the population. Wait 25 years. Those children will find mates and have "replacement level" children of 2 each. Those children will be your grandchildren, something that you will share with another couple. So, at time T0, there are 4 people (you and your grandchildren's other grandparents). You have 2 children per couple, so now there are 8 (4 parents with 4 children). They have 2 children each, now there are 12 = 4 grandparents, 4 parents, 4 children and the grandparents are 50. Take it another 25 years, and what were  people at T0, 8 people at T1 (25 years), 12 people at T2 (50 years), and 16 people at T3. This "responsible" "zero-growth reproduction has quadrupled the population in 75 years. Replacement-level reproduction works for species such as salmon which spawn and die. It does not work for humans which rear their children and live several decades after they've given birth.

      Reduction of population will not solve the problem. There were about 100 million humans alive at the beginning of the Common Era - 2014 years ago. It went up slowly until about 1100, decreased slightly during the Dark Ages. So, we've gone from 100 million to 7.1 billion in 2000 years. Or, about 250 million to 7.1 billion in about 1000 years. In 1900,there were about 2 billion people alive, and the industrial revolution was in full swing. In just over 100 years, we've more than tripled our population. That could happenb again if humankind had our numbers greatly reduced.

      What is likely to reduce the population are a combinatoin of "peaks" which result from a large population, as well as a more industrialized one.

      Deindustrialize, you say? Stop carbon emissions, greenhouse gasses, polution of water and soil? Many of the gains from industrialization - including higher crop yields, advances in agriculture that allows more marginal lands to be farmed and faster transportation to get foods from their origin (farms or seas) to densly-packed population centers has been a good bit of what's allowed us to feed 7 billion people (mostly). Then, combine that with advances in medicine that allow people to live longer - the biggest gain being from sanitary water and sewage systems and erradication of disease - mostly through hygeine, vaccinations, and a significant portion of the population having heated homes in the winter. This leads to longer lives, lower infant mortality, and a higher standard of living. But, biology is intent on breeding for the infant and maternal death rates that existed before - only a fraction of children born reached their teen years, and lifespans were 35-40 years.

      Do we want to, or will people accept a return to life in harsh conditions? Even if we do, we've got to accept that maybe 500 million people can live. So, which 11 in 12 will volunteer to just go away? Even if we find such, there's the reality of what we do with all of the bodies? Think of what happened with many corpses that happened with the earthquake in Haiti, and how many people became diseased from exposure to human corpses which they could not get rid of. Moreover, evidence is thst so much damage has been done to the environment now, that even if we stopped all human activity tomorrow, that the catastrophic climate changes would still occur - just a decade or so later.

      Along with the industrialization, and all of the technological advancement that has been made in the past 150 years, one of those improved things were weapons of war. We now have the possibility for violence on a never-before-seen scale. War has never caused population decrease in the medium or long run, but it can cause horrendous violence and suffering in the short run. There have been no weapons ever stockpiled which were not used. Then, combine the existence of these weapons with them being in the hands of people whose religion is looking forward to Armagheddon or some variant of that, and you've got the recepie for suffering - human and animal - on a monumental scale!  

      Still, this will not be the end of humanity. Some will survive. The wealthy have their 100 year bunkers, and it's possible that some remote areas will have some survivors.

      The real thing to look at is climate change. That will make less arible land. It causes changes in the seas such that there are now dead zones - growing in size and number. The oceans are our biggest source of oxygen. Rainforests are another significant one, and as it is they're going away too. We talk about CO2 and CO levels and carbon emissions, but where does the oxygen they burn come from? Fossilized amber shows that the oxygen level has been decreasing over the past 1000 years or so, and accelerating throughout the 20th and 21st centuries. Indeed, the oxygen level in some cities on some days dips below the amount that is recommended for breathing without oxygen apparatus. Those places and days are increasing in number.

      Climate change also causes sea level rise. If both Greenland and Antarctica melt, sea levels could rise aout 100 meters. Considering that 80% of the population live within 100 miles of a seacoast, and more at elevations of under 100 meters (300 ft or so), what happens to them?

      Some will be killed in tsunamis and hurricanes. Hurricanes too will become more frequent and more powerful as the tropical waters become warmer and can create hurricanes for longer portions of the year. Most though will see their houses and farms flooding, and move inland in an orderly fasion. What then? People are living inland too. They won't want to give up their land to these masses of people! In some countries, such as Bangladesh and many island nations, there is nowhere within the country that the population can go. No other country can or will take them in. What happens to them? We're back to dealing with war.

      Meanwhile, the earth continues to overheat. We're already in an extinction event in regards to other plants and animals. The threshold for an animal not threatened by extinction is about 70 KG. Humans are already at that weight! We are not threatened because of our interference with nature. More and more plants and animals will go extinct. It won't get rid of life, but of its diversity.

      When will all of this happen? The Club of Rome has their sobering "The Count Up to 2052", which is partly available at http://www.clubofrome.org/?p=703  Other predictions for warming, droughts, lack of water, food shortages occurring in 2030 - a mere 16 years away! http://www.global-warming-forecasts.com/2030-climate-change-global-warming-2030.php

      Now, if you're having a child now, even "just one or two", do you want them to reach adulthood in a crisis at THIS level? I certainly wouldn't want someone I disliked, much less someone I loved to live in the world they will find upon reaching adulthood.

      I consider it to be immoral to give birth. However, there is good to be gained in adopting or otherwise caring for already-born children, and there will continue to be. They won't have a good adulthood, but you are giving them a better life NOW.

      There's always the final argument of the pro-natalists: "Tech will save us". That is, some hereto undiscovered technology will be discovered which will clean up the hydrocarbons, water, and other polutants which make disaster a certainty. Tech can give us clean, sustainable energy, increase food production, allow everyone to live to 120... But, none of this exists! It's a matter of faith. It's about as likely as God coming to save us from all of this. There's no evidence that this "tech" can come about in time. It's an even bigger shot of faith - and a narcissistic one at that - that believes that "my child" (one who the speaker will give birth to) could be the one who finds this "tech" that will ave us. While it may be possible, it's so unlikely  that it's not worth consideration. It's far more likely that this (planned) child will be an ordinary person who is one of the consumers of the last gasp of the resources.


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