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Old October 22nd 09, 05:32 PM posted to alt.politics.libertarian,alt.global-warmingsci.skeptic,sci.geo.meteorology,alt.energy.renewable
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Default Anti-Science Climate Change Deniers Have Lost - They Have Been Easily Reduced To A Handful Of Kooks, Stooges And Vile AntiCapitalists

On Wed, 21 Oct 2009 23:01:19 -0400, kzodw wrote:

With 75 MILLION more people (two Californias worth) added to the Earth
each year, there are still those who believe nature is supposed to
carry an indefinitely large human population (emphasis on _believe_
since evidence shows the opposite). They have learned nothing about
carrying-capacity since Genesis 1:28 was written. Scientists estimate
that only ~2 billion people could survive long-term at modern
standards of living.

Overpopulation-deniers are even dumber than AGW deniers, though often
interchangeable. Any talk of resource scarcity of human culpability is
met with scorn and pseudo-facts from bought experts. Below are
refutations of their standard arguments.

"Overpopulation is a myth."

You only hear this line from people who don't care about what's being
lost to growth. They have economic stakes in resource consumption and
are apathetic about its effects on nature. Many of them are religious
and believe all this crowding has a purpose, though they never define
it. They pretend that food and human welfare are the only real
population issues and the ongoing destruction of nature is irrelevant.
Once these biases are removed, the impacts of overpopulation are
obvious. They include water shortages, wilderness destruction, the
paving of farmland, species extinctions, chronic malnutrition, air and
water pollution, increasing congestion (on land, air and water), a
feeling that one is just a number, lack of personal service from
institutions, a welfare cycle that promotes childbirth, an increasing
need for prison cells, year-round schooling for lack of classroom
space, etc.. Where is the "myth" in all this hard reality?

"We have enough food to feed the world, it's just not distributed
equitably."

Although it's becoming more difficult to feed people, the above
statement might be true IF everyone had a spartan vegetarian diet. But
the real world will never work that way. When deer outgrow their local
food supply we don't claim that we could easily ship in hay from
Russia to feed the animals. We admit that they've exceeded the local
carrying capacity of the land, and we're quite comfortable using the
term "overpopulation." But when human beings are trapped in cycles of
chronic starvation, people tend to change their perception and the
whole world is seen as a local resource that should be available to
everyone. What's logically interpreted as overpopulation in an animal
habitat becomes a "complex economic issue" when people are involved.
This denial is not helping anyone except food-aid groups that will be
in business forever if we keep dwelling on surface causes of hunger.
The fact that we've developed a global transportation system is no
excuse for ignoring local carrying capacity.

"My calculator shows that the entire world population could fit inside
Texas with room to spare."

This is one of the worst excuses for overpopulation ever invented, yet
it keeps appearing in cornucopian rhetoric. Its origin would be
interesting to trace; it couldn't have come from a demographer. Such
simplistic calculations ignore the vast amounts of water, land and
energy required for modern life. They also ignore other species' need
for shrinking habitat. People have dissected the landscape, leaving
nature in broken pockets cut off by development. People also gravitate
to the most livable areas, which further restricts land-use scenarios.
For life to be sustainable, ecosystems must remain quite large in
relation to densely populated zones. Calculations vary, but the
"ecological footprint" of the average American is said to exceed 5
acres. For 300 million people (as of late 2006) this equates to
1,500,000,000 acres (about 1,500 x 1,500 miles) or 80% of total U.S.
land acreage. If you tried to fit 6.6 billion people (2006 world
population) in Texas, there would be about 25,000 per square mile over
the entire State. That's about 7 times as dense as the Dallas metro
area. Texas can't even sustain its actual population without imports;
true of most modern nations. These "Texas Hold 'Em" fallacies are
mindless variations of the food distribution arguments above.

"Birth rates are dropping and the situation is under control."

Is a forest fire under control just because it's burning at a slower
rate? There's a critical difference between birth rates and net
population growth. The base population is too large to allow
significant changes for decades. Nothing short of worldwide celibacy
can prevent an average gain of at least 60 million annually for
another 50 years. Projections show a minimum of 9 billion people by
2050 and up to 12 billion by 2100 if sanity doesn't prevail. The worst
impacts are yet to come, so we must work even harder to beat the most
optimistic projections. It's disturbing to see countries like Japan
calling for more births to offset "shortages" of younger workers. This
demonstrates addiction to economic growth, fueled by global population
growth. A steady-state economy (vital for long-term survival) will
demand that we accept a higher ratio of old to young.

"We need growth to generate more wealth."

This deeply embedded fallacy is based on the idea that each generation
can be wealthier than the previous in a finite world. It just doesn't
make sense beyond a certain point - a point which we've already
passed. Illusions about the value of money are at the core of this
concept. People who look beneath the veneer of society will notice
that overall per-capita wealth has been decreasing and much of the
world remains poor. In America this manifests itself in the need for
two-income households and the comparative difficulty of affording new
homes and cars. People are working longer hours and "quality time"
must be rationed. Fancier technology gives the impression that we're
better off (and we are in some ways) but the basic essentials of life;
land, food, water and bulk goods, are getting more costly. When people
talk of the good old days when you could buy X for a dime, they aren't
just overlooking "cost of living increases;" they're noticing that the
cost of living has increased. Growth for the sake of growth is making
people at the top of the pyramid scheme monetarily rich, but it's
destroying true wealth by depleting natural resources.

"Technology knows no limits."

Some people assume that every aspect of life can be shrunk like a
silicon chip and/or made exponentially more efficient. Computer people
are notorious for this cure-all optimism. They focus on one narrow
sector where the potential for improvement is enormous and extrapolate
this to other realms, like energy and food, where it's only applicable
to a point (witness the peaking of the Green Revolution). This
explains why many technophiles show minimal concern for the sheer
space and resources being used by Man. In a fantasy world where we
could reduce people to the size of plastic action-figures, billions
more could be accommodated. But people are not scalable like computer
chips. No matter how far technology progresses, humans will still take
up space and consume resources at a rate commensurate with population
size. A disconcerting number of Hollywood-brainwashed people still buy
the panacea of space-colonization, even though it would require
transporting billions of people to relieve pressures on Earth; a
complete fantasy in any useful time frame, if ever. Technology must be
combined with a zero-growth plan or it will continue to be a patch
instead of a cure.

"You growth-control nuts just hate people. We need to save the humans,
not the whales."

This is as absurd as telling visitors to a barber shop that they must
hate their hair since they never let it grow indefinitely. A finite
world can only offer a finite degree of human expansion, just as hair
must be cut before it's tripped over and becomes a hazard. People who
refuse to face the realities of overpopulation tend to be strong
champions of individual freedom, but they miss the irony of their
position, since population growth is one of the biggest threats to
personal freedom and human dignity. Much of what's mistaken for
government control of people's lives is just the effect of
overcrowding and smaller pieces of the pie per capita. If promoting
ZPG is "anti-people" then promoting pet birth control is "anti-pet."
It's interesting that those who claim to be the biggest champions of
life generally treat non-human life as expendable in the path our own
runaway growth.

"Humans are part of nature. We have a right to compete."

It's ludicrous to claim that the playing field is level among humans
and other species, and it's arrogant not to care. We may be "natural"
in the sense that we came from natural origins, but we left them
behind centuries ago. The existence of agriculture, the exploitation
of petroleum and the harnessing of the atom are just a few ways that
Man has stepped outside of nature. The wise among us recognize that we
must temper our abilities. No other species thrives on exponential
population growth and sidesteps natural controls like Man. No other
species has generated such a rapid rate of extinction among others.
Just because we can pave and trample the world doesn't mean we're
obliged to. If modern human activity is "part of nature," so is
cancer.

"Man will never destroy nature; we're too puny to accomplish that."

This argument is often used after a growth-apologist concedes that Man
isn't quite operating within the limits of nature. They change the
angle from denial of our impact to a feigned humility in the face of
something much larger than ourselves. But ecologists have never
claimed that Man can literally "destroy" the entire surface of the
planet, short of a nuclear war. The real issue is the damage we're
doing that wouldn't have occurred without us. Examples are species
extinctions, forest destruction, water diversions, and general damage
to ecosystems, including potentially serious climate change. Of course
nature will always exist in some form, but the issue is the scale ...

read more »


Your argument is totally anti-scientific. Eliminate the wars that are
destroying crop land and the world can easily support 6+ billion people.
Quite letting rats and cattle have total and free access to crops in India
and they can become quite a large exporter of food.

Also look at Genesis. We are to be MANAGERS of nature. Part of management
is resource conservation. We DO need to make INTELLIGENT limits on resource
use. Look at the wildlife management efforts. We have more deer now than
the first settlers had available due to resource management.

BTW, it was the envirowackos demands that lead to the uncontrolled and
destructive wildfires in CA and the surrounding areas. Lack of intelligent
underbrush management turned SOCA into a giant brush fire waiting to
happen. They pushed for the creation of a deadly situation. You want them
to rule?

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