Humans: We are about to destroy ourselves, and not with a nuclear bomb.

Discussion in 'Earth Science' started by xelius00, Mar 31, 2002.

  1. BatM Member At Large Registered Senior Member

    Just making sure you're paying attention.

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    Hmmm. Definition of "zealot" (American Heritage Dictionary):

    1a. One who is zealous, especially excessively so. b. A fanatically committed person.

    This would seem to be applicable to many things -- terrorist, patriot, politician (sometimes), entrepreneur, inventor (sometimes), even scientist on ocassion.

    2. Zealot A member of a Jewish movement of the first century a.d. that fought against Roman rule in Palestine as incompatible with strict monotheism.

    Ah, now we see why it is so often applied to terrorist (particularly of Middle Eastern descent).

    And moderation is good. I was just pointing out that zealotry is not strictly the province of terrorists.

    "The more things change -- the more they stay the same."
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  3. fadingCaptain are you a robot? Valued Senior Member

    Carrot has it right. A miniscule amount of time/mony/energy is going into space exploration and expansion on a global scale. Yes, we have some time but do not forget that population is exponential. The day could creep up on us when such dramatic steps such as China's limits on childbirths could be worldwide. A much better solution for the us would be to find and/or create additional living environments in space. This would also guarantee the survivability of the human race in case of an mass extinction on earth.
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  5. BatM Member At Large Registered Senior Member

    This probably will not work. IF population growth is exponential, then by ~2050 we will be talking about a growth rate of ~10B people every generation (20 years). Therefore, for the space option to be effective at controlling population growth, you're talking about moving billions of people into space in the next 100 years!

    Anybody have a space elevator? :bugeye:
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  7. kmguru Staff Member

    We need to hurry up and build our carbon nanotube elevator.....

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  8. Awaranowski Registered Senior Member

    This is exactly why I'm not going to have children. Whenever I see someone get pregnant, I can't help but say, "Idiot!" They're idiots. Seriously.
  9. Edufer Tired warrior Registered Senior Member

    Population growth is <b>not</b> exponential, although Malthus based its proposition on that. I told you sometime ago that if growth was exponential, then according to present population, England would have started with two people back in 1215. Or starting with England's population of 1795 (in Malthus times), then it would have about 1,2 billion people living in the islands.

    No need for space elevators.
  10. BatM Member At Large Registered Senior Member

    Note, I did put a big IF in my statement.

    Even when I read that original statement of yours about England having two people in 1215, I said that your numbers seemed overly simplified and I didn't fully understand where you got them from (you never followed up on that).

    • How did you come up with the 1215 year?
    • What were you using for a rate of population growth?
    • Are you assuming a stable rate of population growth?

    I tend to think that the population growth rate has not been stable and has, in fact, been accelerating (after all, isn't that the definition of an exponential growth rate?) as population density goes up. Therefore, while we might have a 100% growth rate per generation currently (world population was 2B when I was born and is now 6B after two generations [40 years]), it would've been decreasing toward zero (but never reaching it) as you go back in time. Therefore, without records of population growth rates going back through time, I fail to see how you could deduce an exact time of zero population.

    So how does your math work?

    p.s. Note that I didn't reference Malthus above. I accept that he could be wrong (considering how the philosophies of his time colored his work). However, after skimming Malthus' paper, I don't see his arguments as scientific, but rather philosophical that can be adjusted based upon new scientific evidence, so, to try to paint him as scientifically wrong, doesn't hold a lot of weight with me.

    p.p.s. On the flip side, I do assume that the population growth rate will slow down (and perhaps reverse) at some time in the future as the limitations of resources come into play. I will not predict when that will be, however, but it will probably be pretty catastrophic when it does begin to happen.
  11. BatM Member At Large Registered Senior Member

    The kid you do not have may be the kid who solves this all.

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  12. BatM Member At Large Registered Senior Member

    Since you haven't addressed my previous points on this, I'll take another crack at it.

    You know, the more I look at this and skim Malthus' paper, the more I think you're only partially right here and that "your point" is not made.

    Malthus does appear to be right that population has been increasing exponentially. Your mistake is in believing that he thought the exponential factor was constant. He gives examples in his paper of how different areas increased their population at different rates of speed (he doesn't seem to use the term "population growth rate", but his paper implies it all over the place). Therefore, without knowing the growth rates at each point in history, you cannot easily extrapolate from today's population either what the population was in the past or what it will be in the future. Thus, your 1280 or 1215 date (make up your mind

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    ) for zero population in England doesn't make sense. However, it might be reasonably said that an increasing population in an area affords more opportunity for procreation in that area and, thus, the population growth rate is generally increasing.

    Malthus could also be right about the linear increase in resources, but I'm not knowledgeable enough to be conclusive about that. Your point about scientific advances may only cause discontinuous jumps in the resource curve (when the advance is put into place), but I tend to think that it doesn't change the overall picture. In other words, in the past, increases in subsistence is accomplished by using more of the readily available resources while, in the future, strains in resource availability will require more and more scientific advances to keep subsistence levels increasing at a rate that agrees with population growth.

    Hmmm. Since population is a drain on resources, is it truly a part of the wealth equation? Or perhaps there should be "weights" applied to the factors of the equation to get a real sense of wealth?

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