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131Re: stopattwo in one nation

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  • aditmore@juno.com
    Feb 2, 2012
      We don't have to convince the Chinese or any other national government, even though I believe the Chinese government is monitoring the western overpopulation movement, including us, for ideas; so we are advising them at this moment, India too.  But who we have to convince is MAYORS and would be mayors.  And we only need one of them.  Also, being vague about specifics does not convey sanity to any sane person, and we need not appeal to the insane even if they consititute 99.9% of humanity.  What we need is a model city with a model mayor.  Once we have that we can prove our case to the rest of the world.
      On Wed, 1 Feb 2012 22:06:31 -0800 John Taves <john.taves@...> writes:
      Whoops, sorry about that. You did provide more concrete numbers and you did put time into it. I failed to respond properly. I don't see how you shifted from "geologists don't know this" to "I say 5 million", but that doesn't matter. The point still stands that we are in no position to do anything with your estimate, and your estimate cannot convince others that the problem is real and certainly it does not help to convey urgency. You admit this yourself by saying it won't fly politically. My point is that people do not come away thinking .002 is absurd, but .1 makes sense. They stick your whole concept into the "he's a lunatic" bin. And this brings me right back to the point I did make in my bad response, which is that we are OK with the audience coming up with their own urgency factor, as long as they comprehend the concept I stated in bold.


      On Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 9:56 PM, John Taves <john.taves@...> wrote:
      Maybe I have not been specific enough. I have no problem with this type of discussion if we are supplying answers or guidance to the Chinese government. They have the ability to act on this sort of thing. However, there is a caveat, which is that there's no point to any sustainable estimate if you don't put a time frame on it. The only thing we need to know is the rate of decline. We don't need the target population number. I proposed that a rate of decline could be determined by keeping the cost of oil from increasing. This proposal was mostly for fun, but it had a purpose too. The goal was to show others, that have some itch in their pants to do some difficult modeling and estimating, that instead of attempting to determine a sustainable number using today's technology, they could shift their thinking to look for measures that already have the time and target number baked in. Instead of trying to figure out a distance, and ignore the essential time component, they could figure out a velocity.

      However, all of this is pointless because we do not live in China and we are not being called upon by that government to help them determine the child policy. For all of us that are in democracies, we have work to do before we need some rate of decline. We cannot expect that any estimate along these lines can be used to convince anyone of the need to decrease our numbers. If the audience is typical of most people, they will rely on how much expert consensus there is on the topic, and they will find none. A numeric estimate is actually damaging towards the the goal of convincing people that we must get our numbers down, because nobody will agree with those estimates.

      I have read your response a few times and I can't tell what you strongly disagree with. Your concept did not provide anything more concrete than "we must get our numbers down to the point where we are no longer consuming resources, that are essential to providing for our numbers, faster than they renew" You got more specific with what resources are essential, and thereby opened up lines of argument. "worthwhile"? Really? This isn't debatable? But you failed to put any numbers that might convey urgency. So, you moved from a statement that was not debatable to one that is debatable and gained nothing.

      Right now, in the democracies, we have to convince a bunch of smart people that these concepts are sound. We need this coalition to help convince either demographers, or large philanthropies. We cannot do that with the sort of statement you made because smart people will have no problem finding holes in your assertions. The statement in bold above has no holes. Its only weakness is that it does nothing to directly convey the urgency. But that is one of its strengths. Any reasonably aware person will have no trouble seeing how important oil, coal, uranium are to our ability to produce and distribute food in the required quantities to feed the current 7 billion. They will imagine their own urgency factor, and right now it makes no difference if their urgency factor results in them concluding that we must have a .01 birth rate, a .1 birth rate or a birth rate of 1 or 1.9.


      On Wed, Feb 1, 2012 at 10:47 AM, <aditmore@...> wrote:
      Oil is essential to a WORTHWHILE existence, not to mere survival.  Plus several forms of contraception are themselves petroleum based, so oil is essential to a stable population.  So I maintain that unless technology moves beyond that, the sustainable population is based on the natural formation rate of petroleum, which is properly estimated by geologists, though they have yet to adequately produce such estimates.  I again comprehend perfectly, but this time I adamantly disagree.  
              Consistent with the precautionary principle,  The sustainable population estimate should be the MINIMUM, based on current or even some backslide in technology and on the DESIRED, consumerist lifestyle consumption rate, the amount we want to consume.  We can always revise the sustainable population upward AFTER, and IF, we have invented practical and plentiful alternative energy and meat sources.
              So here I disagree with you adamantly.  We should be producing hard estimates and VERY pessimistic ones.  Mine is 5 million, or about 0.08% of the current population.  Since it would be best if we got there within 100 years, the fertility rate goal should be around 0.002.  There are political reasons where such a high goal might be demoralizing, so in the interest of presenting people with baby steps, I often accept higher fertility rate goals, but the real one remains 0.002.  
              We also need to speed up the process by opposing things like mandatory seat belt use and motorcycle helmets.  Encouraging antichoice people to kill each other, like in the Iran-Iraq war or Poland's contribution to the Iraq occupation, helps too, unless rape becomes a big componant of war.
      On Tue, 31 Jan 2012 21:29:28 -0800 John Taves <john.taves@...> writes:
      I don't understand why you would say something like "so the sustainable population level is...." in response to an email that, I thought, made a damn good case that calculating, estimating, or talking about what a sustainable population level is, "is not just a waste of time, it is proof the person doesn't comprehend the issues".

      Oil is not essential for human survival, so your statement that some sustainable level is determined by the natural formation rate of oil doesn't make much sense. Oil is essential to provide for our current numbers. Do you understand the difference? Did you overlook that I attempted to make that concept clear in the following sentence? "we must get our numbers down to the point where we are no longer consuming resources, that are essential to providing for our numbers, faster than they renew". Could it be worded better?


      On Mon, Jan 30, 2012 at 6:01 AM, <aditmore@...> wrote:
      Yes, "that economy and technology is heavily based on oil", so the sustainable population is the natural formation rate of oil times the per capita oil consumption at the desired lifestyle.  What geologists have some trouble estimating is the rate of natural oil formation.
      On Sun, 29 Jan 2012 23:07:39 -0800 John Taves <john.taves@...> writes:
      Thanks for the information about India. I am not neglecting to mention this. I am totally ignorant of it. I will see if I can find information about that.

      I don't have a problem with hard numbers. I have a problem with the concept of calculating the number of people that can be sustained. What would you calculate? Would you calculate the number of people that could be sustained with today's economy and technology? Well that economy and technology is heavily based on oil, so that would be bogus. Would you use the technology/economy we had 500 years ago when we were much closer to not consuming the resources we needed to provide for the population of that time? There's nothing to calculate, just look up the population estimate. Duh. What you need to know is the technology/economy we will have when we are no longer consuming resources, that are essential to providing for our numbers, faster than they renew. If you think you know that, or can estimate that, you are very confused.

      Once there is a significant percent of the population that knows two things: 1) that we must get our numbers down to where we are no longer consuming resources, that are essential to providing for our numbers, faster than they renew, and 2) they know that we must limit our offspring according to the needs of society, then there will be a debate about how fast to decrease our numbers. Which is to say that there will be a debate about what birth rate laws we need. That rate could be determined by figuring out some population level target at some date in the future and doing the math to determine the rate necessary to hit that target. But, that would be idiotic, because again, we don't know what technologies we will have and don't know what the economy will be capable of delivering. So, why not determine a birth rate instead?

      One could argue that since oil will not dry up instantly, it will just get more and more expensive, that we could constantly adjust the birth rate to control the cost of oil. The theory being that as oil gets harder to find and pump out, the price will rise, but if we have reduced demand accordingly, but not making more humans, it could be kept stable. One could argue that at least that rate is the largest birth rate we should allow.

      But debating what birth rate to target is like debating how we should arrange the traffic signals for when we have anti gravity boots. This is all a pointless, because until there is a significant percent of the population that knows those 2 concepts, there is not a goddamn thing that can be done to achieve any birth rate one might estimate.

      Calculating the target population level is not just a waste of time, it is proof the person doesn't comprehend the issues. That number won't shock anyone, because that number will not get any consensus from any number of scientists.


      On Sun, Jan 29, 2012 at 2:01 PM, <aditmore@...> wrote:
      JT below uses the USA as a theoratical example of a nation beginning a
      population education process, but neglects to observe that India is
      already well under way in this regard.  India is less developed and thus
      has a higher per capita income.  But as I understand it, they are doing
      much of what JT is suggesting now and could probably be fairly easily
      convinced to make the fairly small adjustments JT suggests.  JT is right
      that hard numbers are probably best saved for later, when we have better
      scientific data on things like the natural formation rate of petroleum.
      Though I think scientists are already making guesses that are accurate
      enough that they know that the rate is very small and are afraid to say
      for fear of shocking the planet more than lack of certainty.  In other
      words, we already know enough to be pretty shure that the sustainable
      population is far lower than any goal any serious leader is willing to
      make public.
             A historical parallel is Sherman's 1861 casualty estimates for
      the civil war.  They were actually low, but EVERYONE thought they were so
      high that they dismissed him out of hand as a crank.

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