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Old 11 Nov 2017, 04:56 AM   #679921 / #76
Copernicus
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Malthus got it exactly right, and that is why we are finally facing global catastrophe from climate change. We are literally dying in our own waste products. All he said was that any successful species will ultimately overpopulate its environmental niche, using up all its resources. Darwin was inspired by Malthus to come up with his theory of evolution. He showed conclusively that success would cause populations to spill over into other, more hostile environments, where different heritable traits might be favored. Humans have been able to modify their environment to sustain higher population growth, but there are limits to how much of the surface area of the planet can be turned into human flesh. At some point, the growth has to stop, unless we can find some way to create artificial environments off-planet, and that just doesn't seem likely in the foreseeable future.
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Old 11 Nov 2017, 06:10 AM   #679929 / #77
BWE
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I'm torn on that one. Club of Rome got a lot right in their analysis but we also have engineered our way both out of some traps and into new traps. Malthus used mice in an attic iirc which is a less than dynamic ecosystem.

Actually, I don't remember his actual example at the moment. That's possibly a good thing to revisit. Anyway, I reread the Limits to Growth report a year or two ago and was struck by both what it got right as well as what was a lens on their own particular historical context. It's always worth a read if you haven't seen it and a re-read if it's been a while.

Eta; regardless of his example, his essay involved a population that was held in check by starvation. We have a lot more variables available now that we have family planning.
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Old 11 Nov 2017, 05:35 PM   #679948 / #78
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Copernicus View Post
Malthus got it exactly right, and that is why we are finally facing global catastrophe from climate change. We are literally dying in our own waste products. All he said was that any successful species will ultimately overpopulate its environmental niche, using up all its resources. Darwin was inspired by Malthus to come up with his theory of evolution. He showed conclusively that success would cause populations to spill over into other, more hostile environments, where different heritable traits might be favored. Humans have been able to modify their environment to sustain higher population growth, but there are limits to how much of the surface area of the planet can be turned into human flesh. At some point, the growth has to stop, unless we can find some way to create artificial environments off-planet, and that just doesn't seem likely in the foreseeable future.
But it has slowed down. Modern economies struggle with replacing dead without immigration.

Also... our farming techniques we're using now are extremely destructive. It's idiotic to be able to eat tropical fruits in temporate climates all the year around. Because of fossil fuels it's become incredibly cheap (in money) to be absurdly wasteful. How about stop doing dumb shit, and we're good? If we'd just stop with doing idiot stuff within farming we could be ten times as many humans, no problem. It won't be as fun, and we'd have to eat more canned stuff. But if I have to chose between a planet that is habitable and perfect peas, the choice is simple.
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