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Blackadder 10-28-2008 06:02 PM

Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You
 
bjkeefe,

I don't consider the percentage of terrestrial vertebrate biomass made up by human beings to be a particularly telling indicator. I mean, seriously.

If you google "demographic transition" this should help ease your fears somewhat. Places like Japan and parts of Europe have already entered phases of demographic decline, not because their populations have been limited by disease, pockets of famine, or war, but because as a society becomes more affluent, people voluntarily decide to have fewer children.

bjkeefe 10-28-2008 06:06 PM

Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blackadder (Post 95638)
I don't consider the percentage of terrestrial vertebrate biomass made up by human beings to be a particularly telling indicator. I mean, seriously.

Why not?

Quote:

If you google "demographic transition" this should help ease your fears somewhat. Places like Japan and parts of Europe have already entered phases of demographic decline, not because their populations have been limited by disease, pockets of famine, or war, but because as a society becomes more affluent, people voluntarily decide to have fewer children.
Agreed. And education has worked wonders in many places, and as Me& has pointed out, particularly as regards empowering women.

Still, this is not happening fast enough, worldwide, to my estimation, and I continue to believe that there will be many regions where the population will be limited in more brutal ways.

bjkeefe 10-28-2008 06:30 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by ChrisCatanese (Post 95434)
look george we live in a center right country ...

Something else for your consideration.

Blackadder 10-28-2008 06:31 PM

Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You
 
Imagine a "Natural Resources Czar" briefing the President on the standard of living:

"How are will doing on food?"

"Plenty of food."

"Living space?"

"Never better. Plenty to go around."

"Life expectancy?"

"We're living longer and healthier lives."

"What about the human percentage of terrestrial vertebrate biomass?"

"Well, uh, it's at... Ninety-eight percent."

"Ninety-eight percent! Dear God, we're all doomed!"

Explain why the percentage of terrestrial vertebrate biomass made up of humans, their live stock, and their pets has any real world relevance, and then perhaps I'll start to be concerned (by the way, if it makes you feel any better, you should know that the population ten thousand years ago was less than 0.1% of what it is today. The average biomass of a human back then was undoubtedly less than today as well, and probably the average biomass of pets and livestock per human was a lot less before the development of agriculture too, so the statistic is nothing more than a fancy way of saying that there are a lot more people around now than in 8,000 B.C.

bjkeefe 10-28-2008 06:59 PM

Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by Blackadder (Post 95645)
[...]

First, I was talking about the whole world's carrying capacity, in response to your earlier assertion that we were nowhere near the limits, nor would we ever get there. Big deal, the US is still doing fairly well, at least as far as being able to feed its own. And by the way:

Quote:

"Life expectancy?"

"We're living longer and healthier lives."
Not true.

Quote:

Explain why the percentage of terrestrial vertebrate biomass made up of humans, their live stock, and their pets has any real world relevance ...
Because it suggests to me that we're near a limit.

Further, this idea that everything's cool if we live on a planet where every acre is devoted to growing food just to keep the population alive is something I reject out of hand. I have no interest in mere survival.

I said before I was going to let you have the last word, in another subthread. I now apply that to the whole topic. I think you're being pollyannaish and it's not worth the effort to try to talk you down.

Me&theboys 10-28-2008 07:09 PM

Re: Science Saturday: Confronting the Right Wing
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by thwood3 (Post 95315)
. I don't think its a stretch to think that haidt has identified two endophenotypes. Some cultural anthropologist, Douglas(?) Wildofsky identified the same dichotomy. And there are many other people working on very similar models like Dan Kahan at Yale and John Hanson at Harvard. You've probably seen his blog The Situationist. John Jost at NYU also...

Thank you for The Situationist link, Tom. What a great resource. It'll keep me busy reading for weeks. Lots of fascinating research out there on this topic, with lots of important implications for the future.

Blackadder 10-28-2008 07:09 PM

Re: Bad News: The Stork Didn't Bring You
 
bjkeefe,

The point is that it would be silly for the President (or anyone else) to ignore trends on things like food, shelter, life expectancy, and whatnot, in favor of a rather artificial statistic like the percentage of terrestrial vertebrate biomass made up by humans, their livestock, and their pets.

And again, whatever your feelings about a world in which we were using all available arable land for food production at its maximum capacity, the point is that we aren't anywhere close to that point right now, nor are we likely to ever get anywhere near it.


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