1. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    Overpopulation

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Makeshift, Dec 26, 2011.

    Apparently there's been some talk of overpopulation in here in some threads, but no thread dedicated to it, so here goes.

    Do you think it's a problem? We recently exceeded the seven billion mark and people are still making more and more babies all the time. I've heard people say this is not an issue and the world could easily support much more, the craziest estimate I've heard is the North Americas supporting 200 billion people. It works if you assume it's enough to physically have space for all humans. But the fact that just a small amount of land is inhabited by humans, doesn't mean it's not used by humans. We need agricultural lands, forests, clean water etc. to support us. Some disagree but I also feel other species have a right to exist on this planet and it's immoral to wipe them out to make more room for humans when there would be enough room for us, if we just stopped overbreeding.

    Many say the problem is not the number of people, but the way we live. The truth is, they're both problems. Let's say the amount of resources consumed by humans is the resources consumed an average human times the number of humans. It becomes clear that the overconsumption can be solved both ways, preferably a bit of both. Population control might be the easier way, since it may be easier to get people to limit the number of their children than to get them to live simpler lives. With modern population sizes, simple living in some ways is not possible. If we moved back to living in the nature, hunting, fishing, gathering etc. we would run out of space pretty soon, not to mention lakes would be fished clean of all life, animals hunted to extinction.

    The modern way of life is not sustainable either. There's famine, water shortage, resource depletion, overcrowding and the upcoming peak oil and these problems are just getting worse. Some people say these are political problems and that there exists food for all people. This is true, but do you really think when we have trouble feeding the 7 billion we have now, we would be better off with 10 or 20 billion? That these political problems would then disappear? I can't justify having more babies, when there are so many already here, many of them without parents and suffering in horrible conditions. The Green Revolution helped us feed ourselves but it has its limits and there is no reason to think that technology and science will always save us in the future.

    What do you think? Should we control the population and if so, how?
     
  2. Allan Paas
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    Allan Paas Contributing Member

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    The problem is the number and the way we live. We should control our population. Wild animals have their natural population control, if there are too many they kill too much prey and the rest who can't feed, die. While their numbers are down their prey's number goes up. And the cycle starts again. Not to mention that in the wild the strongest survive; weak, sick, and feeble die.
    Humans have none of that, we grow our own food. Which means we also must control ourselves. Since death of the sick and weak does not happen naturally, we must do it ourselves.
    Humans seem to be attuned toward saving everyone and anyone possible, doesn't matter if in truth that person cannot, never has been, and never will contribute to others. Simply lies in bed, does nothing, and is taken care of, therefore wasting time, food, and money that could be used on other, more important aspects.

    We are not the only living organisms on this planet, therefore we must take the others into counting.
    Earth could support 200 billion, but that means we should have to convert all the remaining land into farmland, killing everything and anything else the land also belongs to. Not to mention human waste that comes from that many people, and garbage.

    Our number will go down, or stop, eventually. I'm just hoping it won't be the most obvious - a choice taken so many times before, without thinking - war, a time of mindless and brainless killing. On the other hand, that might be exactly what humanity needs, to set things straight. If humanity will not start controlling itself very soon, then later severe actions will be needed.

    The reason things are as they are comes from ignorance and stupidity - words that describe most of humanity, and, apparently, the ruling portion of humanity.
     
  3. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    No it is not a problem nor an issue.
    the same ration applies to those born and those who die logically.
     
  4. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Overpopulation will be a hard issue to solve. I wouldn't like to think about how we could to be honest.
     
  5. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    The way I see it, there are two main parts to this problem.

    The biggest part of the problem, in my opinion, is that we're overusing resources that we have no real right to. This isn't a problem I want to talk about.

    The other part of the problem (again, in my opinion), is that we're too convinced that we're special and deserve to live as long as possible. This is going to be an extremely controversial point, I can tell.
    Humans are some of the only creatures on Earth that don't abide by the "survival of the fittest" rule. Lions take over prides by force and then have their way with every female, killing any young that aren't theirs in order to make sure their young are the strongest. Most kinds of birds go through mating rituals. Not humans, no sir.

    Where wolves actively oust lame, crippled, and old wolves from the pack, we actively care for them. "But Jon!" you begin to say, "Wolves sometimes leave food behind for the loners, because they know they're there."
    "Aha!" is my reply. Actually, this exchange doesn't happen, because I doubt there are many members who actually know these sorts of behaviours of wolves.
    Wolves actively remove weak links from their packs, but we do the dumbest thing we can: we keep the weak links and distribute responsibility for them among the other links (taxpayers). To be honest, I can happily say that this can be blamed on advances in medicine. Yeah, advancing medicine is great, because each significant advance saves, what, potentially millions of people? This leads to things like the following:
    [​IMG]
    101 years ago, in 1910, we had a world population of almost 2 billion (1.75ish to be precise-ish).
    In fifty years (1960), we had a world population of slightly more than 3 billion. That's one billion people in 50 years.

    Another fifty years and we come to 2011, the year that we hit that lovely world record of 7 billion people on planet Earth. To put this in perspective, look at the estimates for the year 1800. It was only 211 years ago that we were under a billion people worldwide.

    It's a natural assumption by humanity that we're extremely important. For example, it doesn't matter (at all, seriously, it doesn't matter) that we're slowly destroying the environment. We are insignificant to Earth. Unless we actually manage to break the Earth in half, nothing we do will affect the livelihood of Earth. We can destroy the environment and make as many species as we want extinct, but life will continue on Earth, and Earth will repopulate, probably with something less stupid.

    What follows from this assumption we make is that we need to preserve as much of our population as possible, and that we need to blindly preserve endangered species. We don't. We need to let life run its course, but we don't. I don't want to sound harsh, but the best form of population control is disease.
     
  6. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    The way I see it, there are two main parts to this problem.

    The biggest part of the problem, in my opinion, is that we're overusing resources that we have no real right to. This isn't a problem I want to talk about.

    The other part of the problem (again, in my opinion), is that we're too convinced that we're special and deserve to live as long as possible. This is going to be an extremely controversial point, I can tell.
    Humans are some of the only creatures on Earth that don't abide by the "survival of the fittest" rule. Lions take over prides by force and then have their way with every female, killing any young that aren't theirs in order to make sure their young are the strongest. Most kinds of birds go through mating rituals. Not humans, no sir.

    Where wolves actively oust lame, crippled, and old wolves from the pack, we actively care for them. "But Jon!" you begin to say, "Wolves sometimes leave food behind for the loners, because they know they're there."
    "Aha!" is my reply. Actually, this exchange doesn't happen, because I doubt there are many members who actually know these sorts of behaviours of wolves.
    Wolves actively remove weak links from their packs, but we do the dumbest thing we can: we keep the weak links and distribute responsibility for them among the other links (taxpayers). To be honest, I can happily say that this can be blamed on advances in medicine. Yeah, advancing medicine is great, because each significant advance saves, what, potentially millions of people? This leads to things like the following:
    [​IMG]
    101 years ago, in 1910, we had a world population of almost 2 billion (1.75ish to be precise-ish).
    In fifty years (1960), we had a world population of slightly more than 3 billion. That's one billion people in 50 years.

    Another fifty years and we come to 2011, the year that we hit that lovely world record of 7 billion people on planet Earth. To put this in perspective, look at the estimates for the year 1800. It was only 211 years ago that we were under a billion people worldwide.

    It's a natural assumption by humanity that we're extremely important. For example, it doesn't matter (at all, seriously, it doesn't matter) that we're slowly destroying the environment. We are insignificant to Earth. Unless we actually manage to break the Earth in half, nothing we do will affect the livelihood of Earth. We can destroy the environment and make as many species as we want extinct, but life will continue on Earth, and Earth will repopulate, probably with something less stupid.

    What follows from this assumption we make is that we need to preserve as much of our population as possible, and that we need to blindly preserve endangered species. We don't. We need to let life run its course, but we don't. I don't want to sound harsh, but the best form of population control is disease.
     
  7. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Very true cruciFICTION. But there is, also, the very real ethical problem of population control too.
     
  8. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    When I started this thread, I definitely didn't have any violent form of population control in mind. My point was precisely that there is too much suffering on this planet, both animal and human. We should be seeking ways to reduce suffering, not increase it. I'm a pacifist and I would never advocate killing anyone for population control. That would also include the ethical problem of deciding who dies and who lives. Some people say the weakest ones should die, but do you really wanna go down that road? You probably hate the Hitler-card, but that is pretty close to what the Nazis did with their eugenics program, although not for environmental reasons. What if your own family members were among those weak ones? Aside from being immoral, violence is not an effective method. Yes, in other species the population grows too much and then dies off, but we do have a choice. We can plug the hole in the boat instead of just throwing out the water. After wars, the population generally skyrockets for reasons that aren't completely understood. Wars themselves, and the associated increased industrial activity, also destroy the environment, especially with global and possibly nuclear wars.

    People should realize that reducing family size also benefits them. It means enough food, clean water, room and money for all children. There are lots of benevolent methods to decrease population:

    1) Sex education, people should learn about family planning, birth control, the dangers of pregnancy, abortions and STDs.
    2) Access to contraceptives, condoms, pills etc. Some people would include abortion here, I wouldn't for reasons that may be off-topic.
    3) Education in general, about the effects of environmental degradation. Also, people won't have kids when they're 18 if they only graduate at the age 23.
    4) Jobs for women, it has been shown that when women started working just like men, they have fewer children and have them at a later age.
    5) Gender equality, in a lot of poorer countries the parents have a lot of children partly because they have to have at least one boy who will look after them when they're old, the girls usually join their husband's family after marrying. This, combined with population control, has led to abortions and killings of baby girls in China and India.
    6) Social services and health care for the elderly, therefore they don't have to raise children only to have someone looking after them later in life.
    7) Better health care in general, people in the Third World have large families in part because they need to ensure at least some of their kids survive to adulthood.
    8) Modernisation of the economy, so people don't have to make kids to have someone work on the family farm or in the family business.
    9) Global thinking and co-operation, there are no real national borders on Earth. Every kid born increases the world population and though these problems are mainly problems in the poorer countries, they are partially our fault and affect us too. Finland, where I live has a really low population density and therefore some people say overpopulation is not a problem here. If China was divided into hundred countries, with about ten million people each, would that mean the overpopulation problem was suddenly solved?
     
  9. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    I don't think anyone has really mentioned violence before you.

    Eugenics and Survival of the Fittest (not Natural Selection) are different things.

    Actually it is. If you want to control people and to get them to do what you want, then applying violence and terror is perhaps the best way to do it. The really awful thing about violence is that it really does work. I'm not condoning it though.

    Yes they are.
     
  10. Show
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    Overpopulation always seems to me to be a "you fix it" type of problem by those who chant it. It's kind of hard to take it seriously when I don't see those who promote it really doing the same. Right now, I don't see any overpopulation problem, and I don't see many of those who say there is doing anything to their own lives to fix it.
     
  11. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the surest cure for overpopulation is to have men take over giving birth, relieving women of that chore...

    if heterosexual men had the babies, they'd never have two... and as soon as they shared the details of the experience with other guys, they'd no longer have the first one, either!
     
  12. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    Lemex
    Well, Allan Paas seemed to be entertaining the idea of killing off the weakest and also thought war might be a good thing if population couldn't be reduced by other means. CruciFICTION also expressed his contempt for the fact weak and sick people are able to live and suggested diseases as a form of population control.

    Do you mean that the people killed by the Nazis weren't actually the weakest? I agree that eugenics doesn't necessarily improve the gene pool and often it is based on pseudoscientific theories, but survival of the fittest is definitely the goal. It wasn't really done out of concern for overpopulation, though.

    I disagree. First of all, population skyrockets on both sides after the war. The war itself causes damage to the environment, especially if done with nuclear weapons. People only care about environmental issues, if they are able to sustain themselves, and during a war or under a dictatorship, overpopulation concerns will be the last thing in their mind. Even if the current dictator supports population control, there is no reason to believe the next one would care about anything but increasing his own power. War-waging dictatorships are more fragile forms of government, populist politicians can rise to power by promising to overturn the unpopular population control laws, the country can be invaded during a war and totalitarian government can lead to revolution or civil war. Really the only way achieve lasting progress is through at least somewhat democratic and free state. Compare the environmental awareness of people in modern western democracies and in Soviet Union or Saudi-Arabia.

    Care to tell your theory? I've heard compiting theories regarding this. Some say the governments actually encourage everyone to re-populate, some theorize the soldiers themselves become horny after surviving the war. Probably bit of both.

    Sorry if the post is a bit confusing. For some reason I never learn proper quoting on forums.
     
  13. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    I agree about the first sentence. Most people who claim to care about overpopulation have kids of their own. Even my father said overpopulation is a problem and he has three kids. For some people this might be because they only become aware of the issue when they already have kids. Here in Finland a lot of people say overpopulation is a problem in other countries but not here and in fact politicians often try to encourage people to have more kids. You said you don't see the overpopulation problem. Don't you know there is famine, water shortage, resource depletion, natural environments being destroyed, species going extinct faster than ever before? What do you think is the cause of this and how would you fix it?
     
  14. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Some further thoughts here, some that have merit, some that don't (but they do tackle certain assumptions):

    Many fully developed nations have populations that are not growing..they are stagnant or falling.

    Most fully developed nations experienced a population explosion when their economies were at their most vigorous: large numbers render division of labour possible; large numbers provide a large domestic market for goods. On a reckoning founded solely on economics, many poor nations have too few, not too many folk.

    Overpopulation might be thought a hypocritical obsession of the privileged (white) man...'Oh look at all these interestingly coloured blighters breeding like rabbits. I don't think the globe can sustain them, Margaret , I really don't.' He has enjoyed the benefits that accrue from population growth but demands that others forgo them.

    The best check on population growth is wealth. (And the things that tend to accompany wealth: education; women with, you know, choices; systems of social security). A sure means of producing wealth is population growth.
     
  15. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    What I'm saying doesn't involve ethics. I'm not suggesting that we RELEASE diseases. I'm just saying that disease is the best form of population control. I certainly don't advocate it.

    I wish women would stop playing this card. The problem is that you're not giving birth properly. Laying on your back with your legs spread and pushing? That's not the most efficient method. In fact, it's stupid. It's a hell of a lot less painful (I'm told by several different articles I've read, not personal experience obviously) if you're in a squatting position, for example. And there are different positions that dilate the cervix better, too, which definitely makes it less painful.
    Either way, you womenfolk drew the short straw on the pain side and the long straw on getting to control a) sex, and b) children. So stop complaining that it hurts. If it's that bad, don't have kids. If you want kids, suck it up.

    I didn't suggest anything of the sort. I merely stated that diseases are the best form of population control. To tell the truth, I actually don't give a shit about population control. The sooner we waste all our resources, the sooner we destroy ourselves, which is better. I'm not going to be in politics, and I'm not going to be in science, so I'm not going to fix the problem, so why would I bother advocating it? I'm not against it, but I'm going to be dead one day, and so will every other human. The sooner the better, really, because then Earth can get onto evolving once more.
     
  16. iabanon
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    I'm not doing people's research for them, but I suggest you use google and find out How much a human actually consumes (food and energy and land) and uses. each human in, say, america, has several hectares dedicated to their lifestyle. this is food, food production, every product you purchase and use and it's production, all the energy you use and it's production, the people who service your lives and what it costs for them to do so, medical care and it's production and so much more. I am constantly stunned and frustrated by the level of ignorance and head-in-sand attitude I come across. You guys just have NO FREAKING IDEA.

    I'll give you an example....Corn is a major crop in America. There are more products that are made by corn than you can't possibly imagine. Many products are not even food like batteries, diapers and aluminium. The amount of land that's taken up by corn crops is phenomenal. In 2000 it was 72.7 MILLION acres. Can't find a more up to date one, but let's assume it much more. And it's all man made. At least 2,500 items use corn in some form during the production or processing. So how much freaking land do you guys think there is so sustain your lifestyles? This is just ONE crop. Don't get me started on just food crops, livestock farming, cotton, cane sugar, palm sugar, logging, mining (iron, gold, silver, rare earth metals, uranium, etc etc etc) illicit drugs like marijuana, poppies etc, medicinal drugs, fishing, daming river systems and so much more. More than I probably even know of.

    Adhesives (glues, pastes, mucilages, gums, etc.)
    Aluminum
    Antibiotics (penicillin)
    Asbestos insulation
    Aspirin
    Automobiles (everything on wheels)
    xxx- cylinder heads
    xxx- ethanol - fuel & windshield washer fluid
    xxx- spark plugs
    xxx- synthetic rubber finishes
    xxx- tires
    Baby food
    Batteries, dry cell
    Beer
    Breakfast cereals
    Candies
    Canned vegetables
    Carbonated beverages
    Cheese spreads
    Chewing gum
    Chocolate products
    Coatings on wood, paper & metal
    Colour carrier in paper & textile, printing
    Corn chips
    Corn meal
    Cosmetics
    C.M.A. (calcium magnesium acetate)
    Crayon and chalk
    Degradable plastics
    Dessert powders
    Dextrose (intravenous solutions, icing sugar)
    Disposable diapers
    Dyes
    Edible oil
    Ethyl and butyl alcohol
    Explosives - firecrackers
    Finished leather
    Flour & grits

    Frozen foods
    Fructose
    Fuel ethanol
    Gypsum wallboard
    Ink for stamping prices in stores
    Insecticides
    Instant coffee & tea
    Insulation, fibreglass
    James, jellies and preserves
    Ketchup
    Latex paint
    Leather tanning
    Licorice
    Livestock feed
    Malted products
    Margarine
    Mayonnaise
    Mustard, prepared
    Paper board, (corrugating, laminating, cardboard)
    Paper manufacturing
    Paper plates & Cups
    Peanut butter
    Pharmaceuticals - The Life Line of The Hospital
    Potato chips
    Rugs, carpets
    Salad dressings
    Shaving cream & lotions
    Shoe polish
    Soaps and cleaners
    Soft drinks
    Starch & glucose (over 40 types)
    Syrup
    Tacos, tortillas
    Textiles
    Toothpaste
    Wallpaper
    Wheat bread
    Whiskey
    Yogurts


    YES we are SERIOUSLY over populated and we can't handle more. Unless you want to go for your holidays in concrete camps with views of smoke stacks. As usual, people who want to keep the status quo will deny any problems in it.
     
  17. VM80
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    VM80 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Except that it doesn't have to be some right of passage these days. That's like saying 'go have an operation, but forego the anesthetic.'
    Lots of options available across the board these days.

    Some of the highest-populated areas are still the poorest, no matter how much they grow (or have been growing.)

    Absolutely education and wealth are the key, but it's the management thereof that's often the sticking point.
     
  18. Lemex
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    Lemex That's Lord Lemex to you. Contributor

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    Fair enough.

    The Nazis killed many people, but Eugenics is cleaning up the gene pool, Survival of the Fittest is a misconception about Natural Selection; in which the animals quickest to adapt (and are pretty lucky) survive. They are different things.

    If you read, even passingly, about repressive, totalitarian states - or even on anthropology - you'll see that violence is one of the best and most often used ways of getting large numbers of people to do your bidding.

    People thankful for life are much more likely to reproduce. It's well known, but since you asked look up Global climate change, war, and population decline in recent human history by Prof. David D. Zhang.

    Don't worry about it. :)
     
  19. art
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    art Contributing Member Contributor

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    Still poor but getting richer. And that's the point. Their population growth is a cause and symptom of their economic development.The GDP per capita growth rates of India and China ( the two bogeymen in this sort of talk) are much in advance of most of those in the developed world. On this basis, neither country is overpopulated.
     
  20. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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    You don't advocate spreading diseases, but you would like for all people to die off? You do realize letting us simply destroy ourselves would also mean destroying a lot of other species? We are all going to die one day, but that doesn't mean our lives aren't important. Would you really forgive someone for attempting to kill you, cause you would eventually die anyway? That nihilistic attitude is one reason the world's in such a bad state. By the way, life on Earth is evolving all the time, even humans are evolving, not that evolution itself would be something worth dying for. If you think human beings should die, or that we are about to die, that's just one reason more to not have children.
     
  21. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    After re-reading this part, I realised that Allan's point (if that was in fact his point) is a good one. The Japanese, in war, only sent off peasants and weaklings to fight in wars, and we all know that the Japanese did okay for themselves (not sarcastic - genuine). I mean, they lost in the long run, but that was due to sheer dumb luck (see Pearl Harbour) and firepower (see Hiroshima/Nagasaki) on the American's part. They did this because it would mean only their strongest people would be left behind to continue their population, which may sound cruel, but it makes sense.

    We all laugh when some idiot castrates himself doing something stupid, thereby earning himself a Darwin Award, because we don't think stupidity is a good thing. But we look at weakness in ourselves with contempt, but try as hard as we can to make other people who are weak feel good about themselves. It's backwards, it's not efficient at all. War, unfortunately, might be a good control on population, but it's also a huge drain on resources which is kind of the opposite of what we want.

    EDIT: Didn't see this originally:
    First, I don't want people to die off. That's insane talk.
    Second, I am a nihilist, so... yeah. I don't view life as that important. It's a construct of the human mind that life is great because we're conditioned as we grow up to look forward to things like families and Christmas or whatever it is that we look forward to when we're grown ups. But you wouldn't like living as an ant, so objectively, life isn't that important. It's just life. It's a progression between birth and death.

    And I wouldn't particularly care if anyone killed me. There is one thing in life that I want to know: what happens when I die. That's the only thing. So, I hold no fear of death.

    As for Earth constantly evolving, yes, that's happening, but I think that humans are arrogant creatures that Earth will be better off without. I'm not saying we should actively destroy ourselves. I just think the world will be a better place without humanity's influence. Again, I don't WANT humans gone. I just think that the faster we're gone, the faster Earth can get around to doing its thing. Humanity isn't even going to be around forever anyway. Eventually, we're not going to exist, and Earth won't even notice.

    As for other species being destroyed? Boohoo. It's humanity's greatest failing, I think, that we think it's our responsibility to preserve endangered species. We come up with this concept of survival of the fittest, as though only the strongest species will prevail, but then we see something become endangered and rush to "fix" it when we should just let life do its thing. Look at pandas. They're weak, stupid creatures, but we're trying to breed them 24/7, pretty much, and it's stupid. Pandas are born weak because the mother gets barely any nutrients from its sole source of nutrition, the mother's milk just gets weaker as time goes on because for months she doesn't eat, relying only on fat stores, and then the young have to go and do the same thing as the mother, surviving on a sole source of nutrition that doesn't keep them very healthy.
    Not to mention that the young are born with sterile stomachs and intestines; they have none of the bacteria necessary for digesting the nutrients in bamboo, which means they need to eat the feces of their parents in order to get that bacteria in there to start growing. Without that feces, pandas would be screwed.
    Really, without the over-extensive conservation efforts, pandas would be extinct already, and it would be a good thing. Smart people and all the money they get could be put into agriculture and resource management.

    Don't think I'm not for conservation. I just think it's stupid to conserve a weak species.
     
  22. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    There may be a lot of space, but that space is necessary for other animal populations and ecosystems that we can't disturb. We also have too many people for the amount of resources that we use. We mine too much, and we deforest too much land, and we're not sustainable at a huge population. Overpopulation is not an issue related to space. It's an issue related to resources.
     
  23. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    of course it's stupid and more painful and retards the birthing process!... and who do you think came up with that idiotically counterproductive position!?... hint: 'twas no female who'd ever given birth or seen any mammal being born...

    male doctors just didn't feel like stooping over, so the 'delivery table' of a 'comfy height for the deliverer, not the deliveree' was dreamt up!
     
  24. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah, well doctors were arrogant back then.
    But since women can be doctors now too, you can't blame doctors for why it's done badly. Really, it's everybody's fault for not paying attention to what would be easier.
     
  25. Makeshift
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    Makeshift Active Member

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