UKC

/ Over Population

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krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018

Supposing you had in your possession a virus / substance which would painlessly (let's say by preventing conception) decrease the worlds population, would you release it into the wild.

Discussing this with Mrs. Krikoman, she pointed out if some people were fertile and others weren't, then the fertile one's would pair up and we'd be in the same boat, possibly.

So let's pretend the effects are undetectable and random, for every person, and affects both men and women.

Would the world be better without humans?

6
Rampikino - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

I suppose it would act as a reset moment.  The global environment would rejoice and recover and in a few million years time a new homo-superior will come along and start it all off again.

MonkeyPuzzle - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

I'd suggest we're already struggling with the effects of an ageing population, so to effectively ramp that up massively over a single generation would cause significant problems. Also, the oldiewonks would never vote for it.

2
Mike Highbury - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Would the world be better without humans?

Not another Israel thread, surely?

11
krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Also, the oldiewonks would never vote for it.

 

Tell them it's taking back the power, and they might.

what about a gradual decline over a number of generations?

 

2
krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Mike Highbury:

> Not another Israel thread, surely?


Eh?

galpinos on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Just watch Channel 4's Utopia. 

MonkeyPuzzle - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> what about a gradual decline over a number of generations?

Oh my god, you madman! You did it! You've already done it!

trouserburp - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

I think your question isn't 'without humans' but with fewer humans. Seems like a no brainer in terms of environment, resources, quality of life. But who is anyone to impose such a limitation on others? It's a question of deontological ethics vs consequentialist

For further info see Channel 4 series Utopia or the porno Cafe Flesh

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to trouserburp:

>  It's a question of deontological ethics vs ...

Is it? I think you could make the argument that to do it is a duty or an obligation, but also not to do it could be the same.

We'll probably become extinct, eventually, if we don't reduce our reproductive rate. I'm only speeding things up a little and not inflicting a long and protracted decimation on the rest of nature.

 

 

ring ouzel on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

The world would be much better off without us and all those species we have made extinct would come back.

elsewhere on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to ring ouzel:

> The world would be much better off without us and all those species we have made extinct would come back.

Not if they're extinct. Something else would evolve into the niche though, including ours. 

ring ouzel on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to elsewhere:

Yep, thats what I meant. Things like sabre-toothed cats evolving independently over time as the niche was vacant. They would be here now if we hadn't wiped them out. And people might evolve again too but at least it would give global biodiversity a bit of breathing space before we started wrecking it again.

summo on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Discussing this with Mrs. Krikoman, she pointed out if some people were fertile and others weren't, then the fertile one's would pair up and we'd be in the same boat, possibly.

Have you seen or read 'The hand maidens tale' ? Authorities elite taking possession and control of fertile woman, forcing them into breeding programmes. 

summo on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to ring ouzel:

> The world would be much better off without us and all those species we have made extinct would come back.

Why better? Just different. There is no guide as to how earth should be. Unless you are especially religious, us, the earth etc..  are pretty meaningless really. 

Post edited at 15:43
1
ring ouzel on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

The majority of plants and animals currently under threat from us would probably heave a sigh of relief (or the plant-y equivalent!).

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

> Have you seen or read 'The hand maidens tale' ? Authorities elite taking possession and control of fertile woman, forcing them into breeding programmes. 


Yes, watched the latest series.

I think that why my Mrs. pointed out the issue with only having some people not being able to breed.

So it's got to be random for everyone on the planet, that way we won't get people leaving their partners for other who are capable of reproduction. Otherwise people would be hurt at least emotionally by the break up of families.

 

summo on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to ring ouzel:

> The majority of plants and animals currently under threat from us would probably heave a sigh of relief (or the plant-y equivalent!).

I doubt it, they aren't consciously aware of us. We are just another animal. 

Yes, it's all about preservation and diversity, but these are imagined values we as humans have imposed on certain things. In the big scheme of things it doesn't matter.

Ps. I'm quite for environmental protection, but again it is just because I've placed a value on it. I know it won't matter when the sun destroys the earth or our whole solar system is sucked into a black hole. 

1
summo on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Plenty stuff out there that is just one mutation away from seriously reducing the population. 

Dave Kerr - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

You're coming at this from the stance that the world is over populated i.e. too many people for the available resources.

I think the problem is more due to inefficient use and unequal distribution of the resources. The planet could support all those people in a sustainable fashion but not in the way we're doing it now.

9
Flinticus - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

The world would be better with far fewer humans, both for the rest of the kingdom of life and the remaining humans. 

However it would not be 'better' without as whether it is better or not requires the judgement of a sentient species against some form of criteria. Otherwise it simply 'is'.

Could the dolphins make this judgement?

Dave Kerr - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Would the world be better without humans?

There'd be nobody about to say.

 

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

> Why better?

There's a lot of creatures, for which a lack of human activity, would make their lives better, I think.

Rhino's, elephant, orang utans, etc.

Compared to the universe we're specks of fly shit at most, so whether I unleash my friendly / deadly virus makes little difference in the long run, but it was an interesting thought on what people might do given the opportunity.

 

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

> Plenty stuff out there that is just one mutation away from seriously reducing the population. 


Yes but it might not be very nice, Ebola with the ability to spread like flu would do it, but that's a lot of pain for people.

My virus doesn't cause pain, only the mental issue of not being able to reproduce, but not physical pain, or the pain of losing a loved one.

summo on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> There's a lot of creatures, for which a lack of human activity, would make their lives better, I think.

> Rhino's, elephant, orang utans, etc.

That is my point. What is best? It is just because we think it is. There is no instruction manual. 

> Compared to the universe we're specks of fly shit at most, so whether I unleash my friendly / deadly virus makes little difference in the long run.

Pretty much my thoughts. Although earth could be the only jewel in the universe, or common as shit! 

 

Post edited at 16:00
krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> There'd be nobody about to say.


You're assuming animals aren't sentient, or at least sentient enough to realise humans are bad news for them.

summo on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Yes but it might not be very nice, Ebola with the ability to spread like flu would do it, but that's a lot of pain for people.

> My virus doesn't cause pain, only the mental issue of not being able to reproduce, but not physical pain, or the pain of losing a loved one.

I think science, ivf would find a solution before the population reduced. 

A disease or virus mutation has too short a lead in period. They've already had to best guess the influenza mutations for the southern hemisphere winter now, which will reach us in the autumn. It is pretty much when not if another big killer flu pandemic hits in the future.  

mountain.martin - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Interesting topic, I'm suprised population control isn't being discussed more. 

It seem to be inarguable that the health of the earth, as a biosphere, and our species are coming under threat from the consequences of over population. All it would take to reverse the problem would be to have a strict 2  child policy per couple. Given the number of people that would have none or one, population decline would be quite quick.

I'm sure some people would argue that they shouldn't have family size dictated to them, but given the severity of the problem and the likely consequences if we do nothing, I think this seems like a very sensible solution without being draconian.

galpinos on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

> You're coming at this from the stance that the world is over populated i.e. too many people for the available resources.

> I think the problem is more due to inefficient use and unequal distribution of the resources. The planet could support all those people in a sustainable fashion but not in the way we're doing it now.

Not in the manner to which a European is accustomed, no it doesn't, according to the latest research*. We would have lower our standard/change our way of living.

*which, in typical UKC fashion, I can't now find and don't have time to hunt for......

summo on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to mountain.martin:

Because it goes against some religious beliefs and those in power would rather have an over populated world than challenge folks fictional ideologies. 

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

> I think science, ivf would find a solution before the population reduced. 

Which I why I suggested it's not detectable, so testing for infertility wouldn't show up.

> A disease or virus mutation has too short a lead in period. They've already had to best guess the influenza mutations for the southern hemisphere winter now, which will reach us in the autumn. It is pretty much when not if another big killer flu pandemic hits in the future.  

We helping things along with the over use of anti-biotics and resistance which is becoming a real problem. Again though, not relevant in this scenario, no enforced death allowed.

 

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to mountain.martin:

> Interesting topic, I'm suprised population control isn't being discussed more. 

> It seem to be inarguable that the health of the earth, as a biosphere, and our species are coming under threat from the consequences of over population. All it would take to reverse the problem would be to have a strict 2  child policy per couple. Given the number of people that would have none or one, population decline would be quite quick.

> I'm sure some people would argue that they shouldn't have family size dictated to them, but given the severity of the problem and the likely consequences if we do nothing, I think this seems like a very sensible solution without being draconian.


We could possibly have less effect on the planet if we were maybe 1/4 of the size we are now.

Maybe that's the answer a virus which gradually produces smaller and smaller children

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

> Because it goes against some religious beliefs and those in power would rather have an over populated world than challenge folks fictional ideologies. 


But it's also a factor in our capitalist society, we need more young workers to pay for our pensions, we need to buy more stuff to keep the economy buoyant.

Buy more, use more, borrow more to pay for it, is where we seem to be at the moment. The government supports this by lowering taxes and interest rates. The UK have had a generation who are being told to use more stuff, get newer stuff, keep spending.

So it's not just religions or those in power, though they play their part too.

Part of the thought exercise was, what effect would reducing population have on conflict around the world, religious indoctrination and political power. As our dependency on the earth resources decreased what would happen to the world (not just the human world) as a whole.

Would it be a better place to live or something worse than what we have now?

jkarran - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Supposing you had in your possession a virus / substance which would painlessly (let's say by preventing conception) decrease the worlds population, would you release it into the wild.

All rapid change brings pain for those who can't adapt to it quick enough. So no.

> Would the world be better without humans?

If the world were without humans the concept of 'better' would surely die with us leaving just the world, constantly changing and its inhabitants leading as ever short brutal lives in competition. So no.

We do need to figure out how to live here if we plan to stay.

jk

mountain.martin - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

You are right, all though there are a lot more reasons than religion why some couples have large families.

At some stage living with the consequences is going to become harder than tackling over population.

Flinticus - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to jkarran:

Not all animals. Some live a relatively long time in the wild (or would if not shot by humans or choked on our plastic refuse etc.): elephants, dolphins, pilot whales, gorillas, to name some.

 

 

Duncan Bourne - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Dave Kerr:

Virtually all our current problems rest on over population and consumerism.

Too much plastic in the oceans

Too much pollution

Too many windfarms

loss of habitat

the oil crisis, the sand crisis (seriously it is a thing), Water crisis etc.

Lack of housing

A rising population all wanting Western lifestyles is unsustainable. Eventually we will be forced to compromise on the lifestyles we can accomodate.

1
jkarran - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Flinticus:

> Not all animals. Some live a relatively long time in the wild (or would if not shot by humans or choked on our plastic refuse etc.): elephants, dolphins, pilot whales, gorillas, to name some.

I had my geological hat on. I like that hat

jk

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to jkarran:

> All rapid change brings pain for those who can't adapt to it quick enough. So no.

We could spread it out over a number of generations, if that suit you better

 

>If the world were without humans the concept of 'better' would surely die with us leaving just the world, constantly changing and its inhabitants leading as ever short brutal lives in competition. So no.

It's not that difficult to see for....., let's pick rhinos; though we could pick any number of animals, they'd be in a better position without humans. If we don't exist, it doesn't follow that rhino's can't have a "better" life, or at least a longer, more natural, one.

Wingeing Old Git - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to mountain.martin:

> Interesting topic, I'm suprised population control isn't being discussed more. 

> It seem to be inarguable that the health of the earth, as a biosphere, and our species are coming under threat from the consequences of over population. All it would take to reverse the problem would be to have a strict 2  child policy per couple. Given the number of people that would have none or one, population decline would be quite quick.

> I'm sure some people would argue that they shouldn't have family size dictated to them, but given the severity of the problem and the likely consequences if we do nothing, I think this seems like a very sensible solution without being draconian.

A strict 2 child policy would be draconian. It would involve forced abortions and punishments for having more that 2 children. 

jkarran - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> Virtually all our current problems rest on over population and consumerism.

> Too many windfarms

Really?

jk

jkarran - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> We could spread it out over a number of generations, if that suit you better

You don't need a virus to do that, education and social security seem to suffice.

> It's not that difficult to see for....., let's pick rhinos; though we could pick any number of animals, they'd be in a better position without humans. If we don't exist, it doesn't follow that rhino's can't have a "better" life, or at least a longer, more natural, one.

They'd certainly last longer, die older and sicker, it's arguably no 'better'.

jk

 

Bob Hughes - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

in a way your disease already exists. its called wealth. as countries become richer the birth rate declines. at which point we start worrying about pensions.

Duncan Bourne - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

A possible solution to the "Who's going to look after us in old age" argument would be better automation and technology (especially in terms of assistance for older people) and more emphasis on health in old age.

Flinticus - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

I was reading somewhere about declining birth rates and that it does not necessarily result from increased prosperity, education or family planning but that the biggest contributory factor is the move from rural to urban, which is accelerating worldwide. It seems, in cities, having a large family is a financial burden rather than, in the countryside,  extra hands for help with planting / harvesting. It no longer benefits the parents to have a lot of kids.

Duncan Bourne - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to jkarran:

If you believe all the people on UKC whinging about windfarms

1
Moley on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to ring ouzel:

> The world would be much better off without us and all those species we have made extinct would come back.

How would they come back if they were already extinct??

thomasadixon - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

I think you mean that those in power aren't fascists that think they can dictate to us how we live.  Forced abortions for those who get pregnant with a 3rd child anyone?

Our population, based just on birth rate will *fall* without any intervention whatsoever, and previous governments have been banging on about the need to import people to fix this - which  they see as a problem.  There's no link at all to religions sensitivities.

Krikoman - get up to date, you're suggesting a pretty horrendous solution to fix a problem which is fixing itself.

3
krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to thomasadixon:

> Krikoman - get up to date, you're suggesting a pretty horrendous solution to fix a problem which is fixing itself.

 

Well it's fixing itself, at the expense of the planet and the animals which inhabit it. The ultimate fix might be some form of real horrible disease that wipe out a lot of human beings, but not before we've poisoned or raped a large part of the planet first.

Ulan Bator is has the worst air quality on the planet, they are currently poisoning themselves and dying early deaths.

The idea of the OP was to explore the option of reducing the worlds human population and the ramifications of doing such.

summo on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Would agree, as a species we are trying to fit infinite growth on a finite planet. It doesn't take a genius to say it won't work, although a few like Hawking said we need to escape earth to survive long term. 

Michael Hood - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

I seem to remember that fertility is declining in the western world anyway (sperm count and motility down) so it may well already be happening.

Also, this kind of thing has been explored in quite a lot of fiction. P D James wrote a novel where almost everyone became infertile and Asimov did a short story with a triage death virus. No doubt there are loads of others.

Lord_ash2000 - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Not sure how you'd best do it but I think yes we should aim to reduce the total human population over time. As it stands we're already not sustainable on earth's resources and we are still growing. 

I'd rather have say 4 billion people on earth living a sustainable existance than 10 billion struggling to survive in a deplelte wasteland. 

However you did it though you'd have to do it gradually over a few generations to stop any major impacts. Maybe a combination of a 1 child policy, and culling off the elderly I don't know. But one way or another a significant decrease would be beneficial to the human race over all. 

Post edited at 17:40
1
krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to summo:

> Would agree, as a species we are trying to fit infinite growth on a finite planet. It doesn't take a genius to say it won't work, although a few like Hawking said we need to escape earth to survive long term. 


Far all his cleverness leaving the planet seems a shit idea, except for when we're being burnt up by the sun in the very distant future( if this id Hawkings' long term then fair enough).

We have a perfectly wonderful planet here, we simply need to look after it and stop plundering it and stop filling it with too many people wanting too much stuff.

GrahamD - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Lord_ash2000:

Do we know that this is a stable evolutionary strategy ? I mean its obviously fine if nature wasn't evolving around us but things like viruses evolve incredibly quickly and deliberately reducing your gene pool doesn't seem like a great strategy to combat that, unless you can bank on technology keeping ahead.

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Michael Hood:

> I seem to remember that fertility is declining in the western world anyway (sperm count and motility down) so it may well already be happening.

It might be, but it's only very slowly reducing from what I've read.

> Also, this kind of thing has been explored in quite a lot of fiction. P D James wrote a novel where almost everyone became infertile and Asimov did a short story with a triage death virus. No doubt there are loads of others.

Yes, it was a combination of recent movies and books that prompted the idea in the first place and particularly the parameter of random infertility and the lack of a test.

One of my worst ever films Zero Population Growth, was around in 1972, don't watch it, it's cack with a hat on.

But they all tend to be dystopian "end of the world" scenarios through disease, pollution or some-such. The idea is specifically to not have anyone in pain, or dying prematurely, simply we don't produce so many humans.

Edit:

P.D. James book is The Children of Men. One of it characters is Gascoigne (hopefully not modelled on Paul) If it is then it's easy to see why it dystopian

 

Post edited at 17:59
Siward on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> A possible solution to the "Who's going to look after us in old age" argument would be better automation and technology (especially in terms of assistance for older people) and more emphasis on health in old age.


And fewer early retirees, smaller pensions etc, all of which would be required if the supply of cheap youths dries up.

krikoman - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> Do we know that this is a stable evolutionary strategy ? I mean its obviously fine if nature wasn't evolving around us but things like viruses evolve incredibly quickly and deliberately reducing your gene pool doesn't seem like a great strategy to combat that, unless you can bank on technology keeping ahead.


Are you suggesting we need all these people in order to combat what might come at us in the future?

mountain.martin - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Wingeing Old Git:

> A strict 2 child policy would be draconian. It would involve forced abortions and punishments for having more that 2 children. 

I wouldn't call it draconian if people knew that was an international policy and it was for the good of the species and the planet. It wouldn't involve punishment if people were responsible. 

Lots of laws require the threat of punishment, financial or custodial, to ensure people stick to them. The punishment doesn't have to be physical (forced abortion).

 

1
elsewhere on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to ring ouzel:

Sorry. I misunderstood that. 

ring ouzel on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Moley:

The species which formerly exploited a particular niche may be extinct but if the niche persists and the agent of change as its called is removed (ice melts, humans go extinct etc.) then a similar species will evolve to fill that niche. Hence why lots of similar cat-like animals with very long incisor teeth have evolved at different times.

Wingeing Old Git - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to mountain.martin:

> I wouldn't call it draconian if people knew that was an international policy and it was for the good of the species and the planet. It wouldn't involve punishment if people were responsible. 

> Lots of laws require the threat of punishment, financial or custodial, to ensure people stick to them. The punishment doesn't have to be physical (forced abortion).

I'm thinking about the One Child policy in China. It was draconian. A Two Child policy might not be as harsh but I can think of all sorts of problems it would cause, EG. Birth control can go wrong.

pasbury on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Supposing you had in your possession a virus / substance which would painlessly (let's say by preventing conception) decrease the worlds population, would you release it into the wild.

This thing is already at large and having an effect - it's called female emancipation.

 

profitofdoom on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Supposing you had in your possession a virus / substance which would painlessly (let's say by preventing conception) decrease the worlds population, would you release it into the wild.

You can not be serious

Tell me you are not being serious

2
Michael Hood - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

What would be a desirable human population? 1 billion, 2, 4 or less than 1 billion?

7-8 billion seems like it might be too much but would we think the current population is ok if it wasn't growing.

Difficult one to answer.

Dax H - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

The biggest problem to me with reducing the population is as mentioned above we need the young to work and pay in to pensions to look after the old. We are already facing a crisis with an aging population but I have an easy answer. 

Slip your sterility virus in to the water supply feeding the sink estates, they are full of people who refuse to work or contribute to society and they pop out kids like rabbits who in the most part follow their parents footsteps. By letting people who contribute to society breed and stopping those who don't the welfare Bill will drop drastically and that money can be used to better look after the old folks. 

Win win. (that's without factoring in the reduction in crime as the scummy part of the population die off and the reduction in the NHS costs when not dealing with chain smokers who watch Jeremy Kyle all day with an open tin of Stella. 

13
Duncan Bourne - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Siward:

That poses an interesting point. Let us say that youth isn't so readily availible. Now quite a bit of that work can be done by some retirees but hard physical jobs can't. So you are not going to get a 70 year old nurse, or policeperson, roadworker, fireman, or basically any job that requires physical lifting.

Pekkie - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

No need. It's already happening.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographic_transition

1
DenzelLN - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

There is a Dan Brown book with this exact plot, cant remember which one.

1
DancingOnRock - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

I think, despite advances in medication, we are going to see a big decrease in life expectancy in the western world in about 10-20 years. When all the baby boomers die of old age and the generationXers start dying of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. The milennials are suddenly going to inherit the country and have to get of their social media and start digging some graves. 

Post edited at 21:47
MonkeyPuzzle - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Dax H:

> Slip your sterility virus in to the water supply feeding the sink estates, they are full of people who refuse to work or contribute to society and they pop out kids like rabbits who in the most part follow their parents footsteps. By letting people who contribute to society breed and stopping those who don't the welfare Bill will drop drastically and that money can be used to better look after the old folks. 

> Win win. (that's without factoring in the reduction in crime as the scummy part of the population die off and the reduction in the NHS costs when not dealing with chain smokers who watch Jeremy Kyle all day with an open tin of Stella. 

Can't tell if satire or not.

Duncan Bourne - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Dax H:

Heck enough with all this pussyfooting around lets just have a big war and get it done with. I'm sure some of our world leaders would be happy to oblige with a little push.

 

wintertree - on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Would the world be better without humans?

All life and all memory of life ever having been would one day be seared from existence by the sun going nova.  

If myriad creatures live and die with nobody to whiteness it, did it ever happen?

Humans can give everything existence beyond our sun’s life.  End of the universe is a bit of an open ended problem for now though.

pasbury on 13 Jun 2018
In reply to Dax H:

I take what you say at face value. Your opinion is vile.

4
Michael Hood - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

All this talk of flu epidemics and war wouldn't solve these problems. Although the number of deaths would be huge, they would be unlikely to make a huge dent in the world's population.

Siward on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to DenzelLN:

Does anybody remember Moonraker? Good old Drax, foiled by that meddling Bond. 

summo on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Siward:

> Does anybody remember Moonraker? Good old Drax, foiled by that meddling Bond. 

'Logan's Run' would be a solution too.

krikoman - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to DenzelLN:

> There is a Dan Brown book with this exact plot, cant remember which one.


I try to keep away fro him

I'll have a look though.

Michael Hood - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Unless it's different, the "all over in 24 hours" type format gets a bit tedious

krikoman - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

I was interested in the thought, could this be done, without the dystopian end to it all, could we just peter out peacefully? Would it make people more cooperative, or would there be chaos.

I could see we might reverse our policies on immigration, JD James covers this; importing younger people and stopping emigration, obviously this would cause trouble.

Might we decide to congregate in a homogeneous clump somewhere in a favourable country, or would we keep our boundaries and borders?

 

At the end of the day I don't think I'll release my virus, I think we have to make our own choices, sad though it might be, I don't think I can play god.

 

I might release the MkII virus which simply reduced the size of offspring, gradually making the human race smaller and smaller. We'd need less resource and it might be worth a try. I wonder how small we could go before being overthrown by armies of ants or some other creature. There again I wonder if we'd simply have more of us until we filled the available space, even if we were tiny.

 

GrahamD - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Are you suggesting we need all these people in order to combat what might come at us in the future?

Its possible, but I don't pretend to be able to predict the evolution of the ecosystem.  What does seem apparent is that by applying modern medicine and birth control philosophy, we are slowing down (or even stopping) the genetic evolution of humans.  I'm yet to be convinced that our technology development is good enough to compensate.

blurty - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

As a species we are very self-centred, and think we can meaningfully influence things like the environment - we like to put ourselves 'centre stage' and think short term. Environmentalism has mostly replaced religion in the West, as our vehicle to feel that we can influence the course of natural events.

It's highly likely that one day humans will become extinct, as a result of a bigger natural disaster than we can handle, in the meantime we might as well enjoy ourselves, given that we shouldn't f*ck things up too much for the succeeding generations before the ultimate end.

 

Post edited at 09:17
krikoman - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to wintertree:

> > Would the world be better without humans?

> All life and all memory of life ever having been would one day be seared from existence by the sun going nova.  

Yes but there's a great deal of suffering before we get to that, considering what we've done to the planet in the last 200 years, I can't see the super nova, being a major issue.

> If myriad creatures live and die with nobody to whiteness it, did it ever happen?

I'm pretty certain, there are animals that are sentient, it's pretty obvious when you look ate elephant, whales etc. who knows how far down the line hat goes is open for debate, but to discount thing not happening because a human doesn't witness it is just daft. Unless of course your moving to the existential / philosophical side of the argument.

 

Michael Hood - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Emphasising what you said, if "poor" genetic mutations are allowed to breed as well as the"fitest", then natural selection will cease to work.

This is what's happening in the western world. So until/unless we genetically design out imperfections, human evolution will have effectively been pretty much stopped by modern medicine.

Please note that I am not suggesting any kind of action or inaction, or making any kind of moral/ethical statement here. Merely stating what I believe is happening.

trouserburp - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Michael Hood:

I think it's spelled 'fightiest' - yes I suppose the fighty genes will get diluted but we all go to the climbing 'gym' now anyway, so our biceps should be ok and the wood will get chopped

 

Flinticus - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to blurty:

>  Environmentalism has mostly replaced religion in the West, as our vehicle to feel that we can influence the course of natural events.

Science denial?

> It's highly likely that one day humans will become extinct, as a result of a bigger natural disaster than we can handle, in the meantime we might as well enjoy ourselves, given that we shouldn't f*ck things up too much for the succeeding generations before the ultimate end.

This will happen if we do not do it to ourselves first.

Toerag - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Michael Hood:

> Emphasising what you said, if "poor" genetic mutations are allowed to breed as well as the"fitest", then natural selection will cease to work.

> This is what's happening in the western world. So until/unless we genetically design out imperfections, human evolution will have effectively been pretty much stopped by modern medicine.

It's happening already with respect to childbirth - western women who would have died in labour aren't, and their genes are now propagating with the result of more women with birthing problems.

 

Bob Hughes - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Michael Hood:

> Emphasising what you said, if "poor" genetic mutations are allowed to breed as well as the"fitest", then natural selection will cease to work.

This is only true if you consider (a) that evolution is a linear process which progresses from "bad" to "good", (b) that dying before procreation is the only mechanism by which genes are selected and (c) the only way to die before procreating is getting eaten by a lion or some other misfortune which could have been avoided if only for "better" genes. 

None of these is true. (a) A gene which stores lots of excess nutrition as fat is great if you live out in the savanna and food is scare but terrible if you live in a sugar-rich environment which places a premium on being thin. The "goodness" of a gene is highly dependent on the environment. (b) there is still some variability in number of offspring. The genes of people who have 10 children will predominate over those who have 1 (c)  the percentage of women in the UK who reach 45 without having children has doubled in a generation.  

 

 

MikeTS - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Mike Highbury:

In case you are unaware, the mods no longer allow any threads on the Israel Palestinian conflict. (they explained this to me in an exchange of emails)

summo on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to blurty:

> It's highly likely that one day humans will become extinct, as a result of a bigger natural disaster than we can handle, in the meantime we might as well enjoy ourselves, given that we shouldn't f*ck things up too much for the succeeding generations before the ultimate end.

Totally agree. There have been several mass extinctions in the past triggered by natural events, if would be foolish to think there won't be more. 

elsewhere on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to blurty:

> As a species we are very self-centred, and think we can meaningfully influence things like the environment 

The majority of the UK is intensive farming, managed grazing,  forestry, industrial or residential. There's just remnants of the natural post ice age forest left.

UK is an extreme example in that we have rewritten rather than just influenced our environment.

krikoman - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to MikeTS:

> In case you are unaware, the mods no longer allow any threads on the Israel Palestinian conflict. (they explained this to me in an exchange of emails)

I'm not sure they said this ( I has an email exchange with them too, but they weren't specific), I think they didn't like the anti-Semitism discussion threads (especially when they broke down into insults, by the few who shall remain nameless), but I could be wrong. I haven't given up, anyway

Maybe it was a "joke", in that Israel is the only country with humans in it? So no humans = no Israel.

Either way I have no idea what Mike was talking about or where he got that idea from, I've given up trying to decode his logic. Maybe he was being "provocative", it might have been better if he'd explained, but there we go.

Post edited at 12:11
krikoman - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> Its possible, but I don't pretend to be able to predict the evolution of the ecosystem.  What does seem apparent is that by applying modern medicine and birth control philosophy, we are slowing down (or even stopping) the genetic evolution of humans.

We'll still evolve, good or bad, the environment still has an effect on our genes, evolution continues as long as there's life. It's not necessarily for the best but there's still evolution.

krikoman - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Michael Hood:

> Unless it's different, the "all over in 24 hours" type format gets a bit tedious

I agree, my virus isn't  like that though, there's no "over" involved at all.

Except for the humans, and that's some way off.

A 50% reduction in population every generation needs 10 generations to get below 2 billion.

Post edited at 12:20
Michael Hood - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

I read it as an attempt to be ironic (you starting a non-conflict thread), but if so it wasn't very obvious.

Irony alert...

Is the banning of anti-Semitic threads anti-Semitic in itself (do NOT discuss )

Edit: I should express myself better, threads about anti-Semitism not anti-Semitic threads - doh!

Post edited at 12:23
krikoman - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to MonkeyPuzzle:

> Oh my god, you madman! You did it! You've already done it!


You heard it here first. UKC first with all the good news!!

krikoman - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Michael Hood:

> Is the banning of anti-Semitic threads anti-Semitic in itself (do NOT discuss )

Discuss what?

 

 

elliott92 - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

ever read the book rainbow six? i was rooting for the bad guys

Big Ger - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

 

> Would the world be better without humans?

For who?

DubyaJamesDubya - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

When life is barely worth living at all (except for a rich elite) something will be done and not before.

GrahamD - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> We'll still evolve, good or bad

We may evolve slowly, but not necessarily in a direction that helps survival as a species.  To a large part removing the environmental pressures and the natural selection of the genes needed for survival must make us less able to cope as a species - unless intelligence trumps evolution.  I think its yet to be proven whether intelligence is a good long term survival strategy.

Fredt on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Flinticus:

> Could the dolphins make this judgement?

42

krikoman - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Ger:

> For who?

For the rest of the planets' inhabitants, there are more than humans living here.

Post edited at 14:01
MikeTS - on 14 Jun 2018

 

> Irony alert...

> Is the banning of anti-Semitic threads anti-Semitic in itself (do NOT discuss )

don’t talk about the war!

 

 

Duncan Bourne - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> I was interested in the thought, could this be done, without the dystopian end to it all, could we just peter out peacefully? Would it make people more cooperative, or would there be chaos.

As a child growing up I always assumed (based on a diet of Star Trek and the Moon landings) that by now we would be sailing off into space and colonising other planets. Personally I think that boat has long sailed but it that is essentially what happened in the past (the colonising not the planets), Western countries aleviated their population problems by shipping folk off the various "new worlds". Good for the expanding countries not so hot for the indigenous peoples of the colonised countries though

GrahamD - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Duncan Bourne:

> Western countries aleviated their population problems by shipping folk off the various "new worlds".

That and the black death and Spanish Flu, of course.

Big Ger - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

So you think we should eradicate humanity?

Duncan Bourne - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

and the odd war or two

Stichtplate on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

> We may evolve slowly, but not necessarily in a direction that helps survival as a species.  To a large part removing the environmental pressures and the natural selection of the genes needed for survival must make us less able to cope as a species - unless intelligence trumps evolution.  I think its yet to be proven whether intelligence is a good long term survival strategy.

Kurt Vonnegut had a nice take on this in Galapogos.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galápagos_(novel)

Pekkie - on 14 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Ger:

> So you think we should eradicate humanity?

Steady on there. Let’s just start with Krikoman and his missus and see how we get on. You wouldn’t be a great loss, Big Ger, so we could throw you in with the first batch.

krikoman - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Ger:

> So you think we should eradicate humanity?


I'm considering it, yes.

I notice once again you contribute little but seem to ridicule a lot.

Are you suggesting the planet has benefited from the interventions of humans. While going back 200 - 300 years it might be argued we'd had little impact, I tend to think we've tipped over into degrading the world for so many other creatures, that we may have passed a point of no return. We tend to think we're immune from the effects of what we do, but it's becoming increasing obvious that isn't true.

If we used less of the worlds resources and used what we do use more efficiently we might lessen our impact, but I don't think this is going to happen, because it's always someone else's fault (the Chinese, all wanting cars for example).

I tend to think there are too many people in the world, my thought exercise was, given the chance to reduce that painlessly, would people do it? I can't see any other way we might lessen our impact, and save what's left of it.

I'm open to suggestions other than, "So you think we should eradicate humanity?", if you have any of course.

Mike Highbury - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> Are you suggesting the planet has benefited from the interventions of humans... If we used less of the worlds resources and used what we do use more efficiently we might lessen our impact, but I don't think this is going to happen, because it's always someone else's fault (the Chinese, all wanting cars for example).

How about de-industrialisation? Have you become a fan of that?

 

Flinticus - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to GrahamD:

Natural evolution will become a 'victim; of evolution itself. We will soon be editing the genes of our unborn to promote what are perceived as, and may well be, desirable features (biological enhancements) , as well as eliminating many genetic illnesses. 

Michael Hood - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

You need to ensure that your method allows the population to stabilise once it's got to the desired amount (whatever that may be). Otherwise the decrease will continue all the way to extinction.

elsewhere on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Michael Hood:

In nature populations only stabilise through predation or hunger?

Not something I fancy.

1
Big Ger - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> I'm considering it, yes.

Starting with yourself I take it? 

> I notice once again you contribute little but seem to ridicule a lot.

I've not ridiculed anyone, please quote where you think I have.

> Are you suggesting the planet has benefited from the interventions of humans.

How can a planet "benefit"? 

> If we used less of the worlds resources and used what we do use more efficiently we might lessen our impact, but I don't think this is going to happen, because it's always someone else's fault (the Chinese, all wanting cars for example).

I think great strides are being made in this. We're an inventive species. Remember "acid rain"? That was going to kill us all by 2010.

> I tend to think there are too many people in the world, my thought exercise was, given the chance to reduce that painlessly, would people do it? I can't see any other way we might lessen our impact, and save what's left of it.

Too many people? Agreed. I blame the catholic church. You cannot see the great strides in electric vehicles? Solar and wind power generation? Recycling and re-usage? 

> I'm open to suggestions other than, "So you think we should eradicate humanity?", if you have any of course.

Yes, here's one. Try taking a more positive attitude, stop blaming people other than yourself.

 

3
Dave Garnett - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Our record of environmental intervention has been pretty patchy so far and unintended consequences are the rule rather than the exception.

In this case, even assuming you could devise a virus that would reduce fertility, the chances that it would affect everyone equally are extremely remote.  Either through intrinsic levels of resistance to infection, or because of variations in whatever fertility mechanism the virus acted on, the result would almost certainly be stringent selective pressure in favour of those least affected. 

One probable effect of this would be a serious loss of genetic diversity, rendering this remnant population much more susceptible to some other pathogen then wiping them out completely, or perhaps a high prevalence of a linked genetic defect.

It's also clear that such a reduced level of fertility, even if it technically worked as intended, would tip societies already reproducing at, or below, their replacement rate into serious decline, while relatively favouring societies currently reproducing at well above their replacement rate, leading to huge swings in relative population densities.

There's also the risk of the virus mutating after release, with entirely unpredictable results.

 

Did you develop a vaccine, BTW?   

 

 

krikoman - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Ger:

> Starting with yourself I take it? 

The whole point of what I was postulating was it would affect everyone, including me! It's not about doing away with people, it was about reducing our effectiveness at breeding, therefore numbers would decrease.

> How can a planet "benefit"? 

Ask a rhino or and elephant, or any number of animals which were once numerous but are now either dying out or are under threat. Do you not think it might benefit rhinos to have more of them? On a simple evolutionary basis, having a large gene pool in useful for survival.

> I think great strides are being made in this. We're an inventive species. Remember "acid rain"? That was going to kill us all by 2010.

I think we're trying but, our culture of having more and wanting more, isn't really helping things. I do remember acid rain, and it hasn't gone away. Ulan Bator has the most polluted air in the world, and it's not getting better. From what? Coal fires, so it hasn't gone away has it? Look at pollution in China, it's simply move somewhere else. That doesn't mean it's not going to affect us, does it? Global warming isn't just for the people warming up the atmosphere.

> Too many people? Agreed. I blame the catholic church. You cannot see the great strides in electric vehicles? Solar and wind power generation? Recycling and re-usage? 

Electric vehicle, still need resources, rare one's at that! recycling is great, but there's still pollution.

> Yes, here's one. Try taking a more positive attitude, stop blaming people other than yourself.

I don't think it was a negative attitude, it was simply a proposition that the world might be a better place without so many humans in it. You seem to agree, but then call me negative. I'm sorry you don't understand. Also, I wasn't blaming anyone, simply stating a fact, a fact you've just agreed with!!

 

GrahamD - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Flinticus:

> Natural evolution will become a 'victim; of evolution itself. We will soon be editing the genes of our unborn to promote what are perceived as, and may well be, desirable features (biological enhancements) , as well as eliminating many genetic illnesses. 

And therein lies a danger.  Evolution relies on carrying within the population essentially dormant traits which only become significant once an evolutionary pressure is applied (mutations don't happen in response to the pressure, they have to be present in the population before the pressure is applied).  With no pre knowledge of those future evolutionary pressures, how do we know whether we are inadvertantly weeding out the mutations which may be needed in future.

krikoman - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Dave Garnett:

> In this case, even assuming you could devise a virus that would reduce fertility, the chances that it would affect everyone equally are extremely remote. 

But that's the rule it's the same for everyone, men and women.

> One probable effect of this would be a serious loss of genetic diversity, rendering this remnant population much more susceptible to some other pathogen then wiping them out completely, or perhaps a high prevalence of a linked genetic defect.

Quite possibly, but that seemed to be any earlier argument for a large population. When do we stop? On the off chance we need extra people, just in case.

> It's also clear that such a reduced level of fertility, even if it technically worked as intended, would tip societies already reproducing at, or below, their replacement rate into serious decline, while relatively favouring societies currently reproducing at well above their replacement rate, leading to huge swings in relative population densities.

That was part of what I was thinking about, would this be a good thing or not? Russia are giving tax relief and benefits to larger families at present in the hope of increasing their population.

> There's also the risk of the virus mutating after release, with entirely unpredictable results.

This will not happen, the constraints of the virus will not allow for this. It can not spread to other species, it a human only deal

> Did you develop a vaccine, BTW?   

No, once released it there for ever, I'm not sure if it is weak enough to eventually stabilise at a certain human population, or whether eventually we become extinct. Watch this space.

 

Post edited at 11:34
doz generale - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

Would it not be easier and less apocalyptic  to spread education and access to contraception / welfare to those parts of the world with a really high birth rate? 

 

https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_on_global_population_growth

 

 

Big Ger - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to krikoman:

> The whole point of what I was postulating was it would affect everyone, including me! It's not about doing away with people, it was about reducing our effectiveness at breeding, therefore numbers would decrease.

Something I agree with. You don't/won't have kids then? I only have one, so that's a start.

> Ask a rhino or and elephant, or any number of animals which were once numerous but are now either dying out or are under threat. Do you not think it might benefit rhinos to have more of them? On a simple evolutionary basis, having a large gene pool in useful for survival.

My question was not how rhino or elephants may benefit, let me put it to you again;

> You: Are you suggesting the planet has benefited from the interventions of humans.

> Me: How can a planet "benefit"? 

But to answer your point, who is this "it" which you think may benefit from more rhino? The planet? If so, then no, the planet doesn't benefit at all from having more rhino.

> I think we're trying but, our culture of having more and wanting more, isn't really helping things. I do remember acid rain, and it hasn't gone away. Ulan Bator has the most polluted air in the world, and it's not getting better. From what? Coal fires, so it hasn't gone away has it? Look at pollution in China, it's simply move somewhere else. That doesn't mean it's not going to affect us, does it? Global warming isn't just for the people warming up the atmosphere.

You are confusing general pollution with the "acid rain" problem. We solved that acid rain problem, we will go on to solve other problems. How did we do this? By looking for solutions; many coal-firing power stations now use flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) to remove sulfur-containing gases from their stack gases. For a typical coal-fired power station, FGD will remove 95% or more of the SO2 in the flue gases. Thus was acid rain stopped.

We did this with acid rain, we can produce solutions to other problems.

> Electric vehicle, still need resources, rare one's at that! recycling is great, but there's still pollution.

Well you need to get on board with the scientists who are addressing that. I think you are confusing rare earths, used in electric vehicles batteries, with something which is rare.

> I don't think it was a negative attitude, it was simply a proposition that the world might be a better place without so many humans in it. You seem to agree, but then call me negative. I'm sorry you don't understand. Also, I wasn't blaming anyone, simply stating a fact, a fact you've just agreed with!!

I found your whole attitude to the problem reductive and negative. You obviously were blaming other people (as was I,) for over breeding. I blamed the catholic church too. I think we need a second plague, black death, or Ebola outbreak. Not here of course, in other counties.

PS. I've not ridiculed anyone, please quote where you think I have.

Post edited at 12:17
Michael Hood - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Ger: > I think we need a second plague, black death, or Ebola outbreak. Not here of course, in other counties.

I presume you mean countries but am I right in thinking you're in Cornwall in which case maybe you do mean counties.

At last, a good reason for Brexit

Post edited at 12:36
krikoman - on 15 Jun 2018
In reply to Big Ger:

> Something I agree with. You don't/won't have kids then? I only have one, so that's a start.

I've got three but can't put them back in. And I don't want them, or me to die from the plague either, I'm quite happy for none of them to be able to have kids, if that was the same for everyone.

> My question was not how rhino or elephants may benefit, let me put it to you again;

> But to answer your point, who is this "it" which you think may benefit from more rhino? The planet? If so, then no, the planet doesn't benefit at all from having more rhino.

I was using the planet as shorthand for the whole of life on the planet, obviously earth doesn't give shit what's living on it. Planet  = life on earth.

> You are confusing general pollution with the "acid rain" problem. We solved that acid rain problem, we will go on to solve other problems. How did we do this? By looking for solutions; many coal-firing power stations now use flue-gas desulfurization (FGD) to remove sulfur-containing gases from their stack gases. For a typical coal-fired power station, FGD will remove 95% or more of the SO2 in the flue gases. Thus was acid rain stopped.

But this isn't happening around the world, there are enough small burnings of coal and other fuels which affect the environment, and we're doing nothing about them.

Unreported World 8th June 7.30pm, Channel 4

Marcel Theroux visits Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia, where respiratory diseases are rampant, thanks to air pollution.

Worth half an hour of anyone's time.

> We did this with acid rain, we can produce solutions to other problems.

We know what to do, and we've done it in the west, but there's more to pollution than acid rain, and although we've learnt how bad pollution is in the west, it's not stopping China and India from making the same mistakes. Mercury poisoning from gold mining is a massive problem in some parts of the world.

> Well you need to get on board with the scientists who are addressing that. I think you are confusing rare earths, used in electric vehicles batteries, with something which is rare.

Well there's still the bodywork and interior to make, there's rare minerals in the batteries and even rarer stuff in the motors, they still need power from somewhere and at present that's not without environmental impact.

> I found your whole attitude to the problem reductive and negative. You obviously were blaming other people (as was I,) for over breeding. I blamed the catholic church too. I think we need a second plague, black death, or Ebola outbreak. Not here of course, in other counties.

It wasn't a matter of blame, I was simply pondering if reduction in human numbers, or even at the extreme extinction of human life would be better for the planet (the life on the planet, obviously   )

> PS. I've not ridiculed anyone, please quote where you think I have.

No you're correct, I read your post wrongly, I apologise on behalf of the planet.

 

profitofdoom on 19 Jun 2018
In reply to MikeTS:

> In case you are unaware, the mods no longer allow any threads on the Israel Palestinian conflict. (they explained this to me in an exchange of emails)

I suppose you could title your thread "Fluffy Squirrels" if you wanted to get around the ban


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