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Author Topic: Human Life is Fragile but EVERY Life is Valuable  (Read 10429 times)

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Thanos Revives Centuries-Old Debate About Overpopulation

July 14th, 2018 by Guest Contributor

Spoiler Alert: Genocide Is Never The Answer.

Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War. Source: Marvel Studios

Originally published on Nexus Media.

by Phil Newell


The debate over how to manage limited resources dates back centuries.

In 1798, economist Thomas Malthus wrote An Essay on the Principle of Population, which posited that the human population would grow faster than the supply of food, leading to mass starvation among the lower classes. The answer, wrote Malthus, was for people to have fewer children. Challenging Malthus and his acolytes were the cornucopians, who believed that technological progress would allow food production to keep pace with population growth.

This debate raged anew in the late 20th century. In his 1968 bestseller, The Population Bomb, Paul Erlich took a decidedly Malthusian stance, warning of mass starvation as population growth outstripped the available resources. He was wrong in thinking a population boom would lead to immediate catastrophe. The global population has roughly doubled since the publication of his book, thanks to fertilizers, pesticides and other technologies that, while damaging to the environment, have supported the planet’s growing population.

However, Erlich was right that population growth would strain resources, namely the ability of the planet to absorb pollution generated by humans. Climate change offers a case in point. A growing population means that more people will consume more fossil fuels, worsening the carbon crisis in the decades to come.

Malthus and Erlich both advocated for reining in population growth through celibacy, sterilization or other draconian means. Those ideas are shortsighted. We now know that same thing can be achieved by making birth control available to those who want it, and by making sure women and girls are able to get an education. Of course, any of the aforementioned approaches are decidedly more humane than what Thanos proposed.

By attempting to “restore balance” to nature and the universe, Thanos has once again brought the Malthusian debate to the fore, leading some conservative writers to cast environmentalists as Thanos wannabes, while prompting others to push back on that characterization. What would it even mean to restore balance to nature?

The balance-of-nature metaphor is just that — a metaphor. In reality, ecosystems are complex webs of interactions between predator and prey. These relationships change slowly, over time through natural selection and evolution. They are always in flux and easily shaped by human activity — sometimes for the better, often for the worse. Technology has allowed humans to consume natural resources at a decidedly unnatural pace, wreaking havoc on the ecosystems on which we depend. Simply eliminating half of all humans won’t repair nature.

Full article:

Agelbert COMMENT:

Excellent article!👍👍👍

I recently had a heated discussion with an advocate of forced depopulation (Niemand 🦕) of the poorest humans ☠️ because they are "damaging the biosphere" by forest clearing. It began when I challenged another advocate (upvoted by Niemand 🦕)  for murder of the poorest ☠️ among us  (jhande 🐉).     

Here is the gist of it:   

The US needs to stabilize and slowly reduce its population.

Other nations overpopulating does not mean the US has to overpopulate.

Other nations need to get responsible about their population.

agelbert  jhande

oldgrowthforest  agelbert
Thank you. The world cannot sustain even 5% of the world's population living the way we want to live. Westerners who blame overpopulation are ignoring all responsibility for what a small portion of the population has done. It's so creepy.

 Things are going to get MUCH worse, like almost everything dying worse. I alienated almost every person I knew about six years ago when I said that we are livin' in the end times, based on science. I had gone off the edge, even those who loved me most believed. I actually didn't speak to my best friend of over 38 years(!) over this for six months, she was so contemptuous of my views. In late 2012 I told her that within three to five years we would see BIG changes in the environment. She lives in Houston, Texas.

This year east Texas had eight inches of rain in 24 hours already. Her area had a one-in-a-1000-years storm three years in a row, culminating in Harvey last year. She doesn't think I'm so out there anymore. Au contraire.

Thanks for posting some reality where there usually is little to none.

CO2 was at 409+ yesterday. This is going to ramp up, to borrow an analogy from the bible, like a woman's labor pains, increasing in frequency, intensity, and duration. We are in it now.

Niemand  oldgrowthforest
Nope, the people in third-world countries who clearcut the forest for farms and housing are driving other species to extinction.

The killer has 2 heads, not one.

Niemand  agelbert
Nobody is going to sign up for subsistence living. Even the majority of those living hand-to-mouth want to start living large like first-worlders do.

So it's either population reduction or pan-extinction.

Niemand  agelbert
It's a 2-factor problem, not a 1-factor problem. The first-worlders, particularly the well-off in the US, are consuming too much energy directly or indirectly, and the third-worlders are consuming too much habitat.

So energy consumption must be sharply reduced in the first world, and fertility must be reduced everywhere to a level consistent with Rawlsian fairness.

agelbert  Niemand
You are establishing a false equivalence. That is a fallacious debating technique. Seriously, Neimand, you do not understand the science here, the thermodynamics of the trophic pyramid or the carbon footprint mechanism. You are only fooling yourself if you think you do.

Niemand  agelbert
Nope. If you think that I am, then you should have no trouble explaining the problem in detail using my words.

agelbert  Niemand
The problem is a moral one, NOT a population overshoot one. Human civilization, if it is to survive, MUST adress the PIGGERY of the top 17% FIRST, because THAT is what is destroying the biosphere, NOT the total amount of humans on the planet.

You can kill off the bottom 75% (about 5 BILLION people) right now and it will not put a DENT in the biosphere destruction making this planet uninhabitable for humans.

Niemand  agelbert
According to Dr Lovelock, it's that 75% who are going to be killed off by 2100.

If we started limiting fertility around the world to 1 child per couple followed by medical sterilization, we'd have a chance to use our farming capacity to keep everyone alive. But if we don't, Earth is going to get rid of the poorest humans in the most horrible way.

Anyone who wants to leave it up to Nature is not someone I could be civil to.

agelbert  Niemand
Anyone, like YOU, who is willing to leave our energy polluting status quo to the hydrocarbon loving Industry, is someone not worthy of being respected, listened to, or being civil with.

The PROBLEM is Greenhouse Gas pollution from the burning of hydrocarbons, PERIOD.

Niemand  agelbert
No, like Lovelock, Hansen, et al., I'm in favor of non-combustion forms of energy generation, and in energy-sparing to reduce the amount we must generate. We won't survive if we keep burning stuff to generate energy, and it doesn't really matter what we burn because the common, inevitable toxic side effect is CO2.

agelbert  Niemand
Being "in favor" of Renewable Energy is a nice statement not supported by your promotion of population reduction of the poorest among us, based on a FALSE EQUIVALENCE between the two factors. The carbon footprint of the the top 17% VASTLY outweighs the carbon footprint of the lower 83%. You are trying to create a flase equivalence between the two. Shame on you. 👎

What you REALLY want to do is depopulate the earth of of the lower 83% so that you don't have to inconvenience your unsustainable hydrocarbon burning reliant standard of living. I explained to you that your plan is, not just  empathy deficit disordered, but doomed to failure.

The biosphere math facts clearly state that less than 17% of the human population, MOSTLY concentrated in wealthy countries, is DOING over 80% of the damage by consuming over 80% of the resources. Only about half (or less) of the MILITARY budgets alone of the wealthy countries could pay for bio-remediating the most impacted areas, stop the exploitation and care for and educate the high population growth poor there so they become good stewards instead of biosphere destroyers.

The fossil fuel industry, and almost half of the world’s 100 largest companies, want that 'Fragmentation of Agency' pie chart to look like is as follows:

How convenient!

You refuse to accept the reality of the situation. 👎

So, it is obvious to an objective observer that your claim to being "in favor" of "non-combustion forms of energy generation, and in energy-sparing to reduce the amount we must generate " is mendacious pro-environment posturing. 👎

We DO NOT NEED TO BURN HYDROCARBONS for energy to have a civilization that guarantees a viable biosphere for future generations. Amory Lovins has made that crystal clear since a peer reviewed study he published over a decade ago titled, "Reinventing Fire". Google it. We need hydrocarbons like a dog needs ticks, PERIOD.

Amory Lovins on Energy Efficency Breakthroughs (real world 90% plus waste reduction) that seem hard to believe:
"Only puny secrets need protection; big discoveries are protected by public incredulity."

This conversation by Agelbert with Niemand is over.

For my followers: I recommend you block Neimand because of the unethical recommendations in his posts..

"Capitalist ideology claims that the world is perfectly ordered and everybody is in their place (i.e. everybody gets what they deserve). This self legitmating aspect of Capitalism is Socially Catastrophic. This is the Victorian view of the world." Rob Urie - Author " Zen Economics"

More comments and full article:

Rob not the poor, because he is poor: neither oppress the afflicted in the gate:
For the Lord will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Pr. 22:22-23


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