Donate Bitcoin

Donate Paypal


PeakOil is You

PeakOil is You

What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby lpetrich » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 14:52:56

Another consideration is, I think, maintaining a subset of the population that has technical expertise. This subset must be large enough for these people to be a well-defined subculture, a population where each member can have many like-minded friends. A good lower limit may be Dunbar's number, the number of people that each of us can keep track of without much trouble. Anthropologist Robin Dunbar extrapolated it from our simian relatives, and he finds around 150 people. Since it is necessary to specialize in different sorts of technical expertise, like expertise with buildings, machines, electrical systems, computers, medicine, etc., that number ought to be multiplied by at least a factor of 10.

Advanced mathematics comes very easily for me, but there are many people who cringe in fear of even the simplest math, so ease of acquiring technical expertise may be rare. However, there is a mental condition that may make it relatively easy to acquire technical expertise: Asperger's syndrome or high-functioning autism. That is estimated to occur in roughly 1% - 2% of the population. However, not all "Aspies" become technically expert, reducing the fraction even further. I will estimate 0.1%.

With the population of experts at 1,500, that gives a total of 1.5 million. This is well below our current population, and also the carrying capacity of our planet.
User avatar
lpetrich
Lignite
Lignite
 
Posts: 361
Joined: Thu 22 Jun 2006, 02:00:00

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby dohboi » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 14:54:07

Ibon asked: "Are societies capable of humility in reference to demands they place on resources? "

I think that many animistic-based societies have at least some of that humility.
User avatar
dohboi
Harmless Drudge
Harmless Drudge
 
Posts: 18458
Joined: Mon 05 Dec 2005, 03:00:00

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 14:59:12

Interesting IP. According to your chart it shows population levels at roughly 1900. At that point germ theory was fully integrated into medicine, FF use took the industrial revolution to a higher level and made possible synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, a couple of decades later and the Green Revolution shortly afterwards. No surprise population skyrocketed
"We are mortal beings doomed to die
User avatar
onlooker
Fission
Fission
 
Posts: 10510
Joined: Sun 10 Nov 2013, 12:49:04
Location: NY, USA

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 15:14:18

Yes looking at minimum population is an interesting approach. IMHO you are off by one or two orders of magnitude, maybe more, simply because we are not very efficient. That still puts the minimum at 15-150 million, very low.

It also seems to have a hidden background assumption that our purpose in life, as a species, is to acquire knowledge. I’m good with that.
User avatar
Newfie
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 13248
Joined: Thu 15 Nov 2007, 03:00:00
Location: Between Canada and Carribean

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 15:26:46

Following up on my post, other than germ theory, population levels and their rapid rise closely coincide with the advent of the fosiil fuel age. So, 1900 is the boundary line. So, the end of the FF age should strongly influence a reversion back to 1 to 2 billion of us. However, given the degraded nature of our ecosystems and biosphere , that number should be fairly lower. Perhaps 500 million
"We are mortal beings doomed to die
User avatar
onlooker
Fission
Fission
 
Posts: 10510
Joined: Sun 10 Nov 2013, 12:49:04
Location: NY, USA

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 17:51:39

dohboi wrote:Ibon asked: "Are societies capable of humility in reference to demands they place on resources? "

I think that many animistic-based societies have at least some of that humility.


A question I have often pondered. Has secular thought and modern materialism permanently destroyed any technological society from incorporating a religious belief system in the future? Specifically to the topic we discuss here to what degree can religion or spiritual doctrines be used to guide collective society moving forward to submit to limits. Can we do this in a purely secular society or will we need a deeper spiritual context in our relationship with our planet in order to reach a sustainable balance.

Again, each and every one of us as individuals can share their own personal views on this but the question is more if this can be a set of religious principals that collective society as a whole assimilate. Or has secular modern materialism permanently destroyed the chance of religious or spiritual belief systems acting as an effective force to guide collective society?

Most religious people today claiming to be religious our actually practicing a Disneyland kind of religion that is convenient for their continued pursuit of materialism. Most of Christianity in America today has been prostituted in this way. I also remember in Thailand all the Buddhists making offerings at temples for wealth and good fortune. Same BS.

When I mention spiritual or religious belief systems in some future sustainable collective society I am referring to one that would be followed with a far more earnest bedrock constituency. Not like what we see today where religion is eclipsed by consumption and materialism. A facade of religion really. My assumption here is that the bottleneck of consequences of human overshoot would be biblical and devastating and provide an opening of collective humility. Or is any future technological society maintaining science and reason necessarily secular?
Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
website: http://www.mounttotumas.com
User avatar
Ibon
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 7589
Joined: Fri 03 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Volcan, Panama

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 18:01:20

onlooker wrote:Following up on my post, other than germ theory, population levels and their rapid rise closely coincide with the advent of the fossil fuel age. So, 1900 is the boundary line. So, the end of the FF age should strongly influence a reversion back to 1 to 2 billion of us. However, given the degraded nature of our ecosystems and biosphere , that number should be fairly lower. Perhaps 500 million


On the other hand since 1900 there has been technologies that are not necessarily dependent on fossil fuels. Think of all the genetic advances in crop production. Or medicine. In 1900 we didn't even understand that influenza was caused by a virus. Penicillin and other antibiotics had not yet been discovered. Modern agriculture with genetic advances in yields and disease resistance did not exist. The decline of fossil fuels does not necessarily take us back to where we were before.
Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
website: http://www.mounttotumas.com
User avatar
Ibon
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 7589
Joined: Fri 03 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Volcan, Panama

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby onlooker » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 18:09:38

Ibon related to your post about religion and spirituality. I believe it can and will return in spades. Because of the harrowing nature of what is to come, people will seek answers, assistance and solace from a higher being/religion. And as for materialism well that will be rightly singled out as a cause of this great Calamity. But even more so the future world will embody constraints especially to consumption of all kinds
"We are mortal beings doomed to die
User avatar
onlooker
Fission
Fission
 
Posts: 10510
Joined: Sun 10 Nov 2013, 12:49:04
Location: NY, USA

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby lpetrich » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 18:23:47

Newfie wrote:It also seems to have a hidden background assumption that our purpose in life, as a species, is to acquire knowledge. I’m good with that.

I hadn't thought of that. I had in mind knowing how our technology works and being able to do technical sorts of things. But to do such things means acquiring various sorts of knowledge and experience, so increasing our knowledge may still be thought of as a Good Thing.
User avatar
lpetrich
Lignite
Lignite
 
Posts: 361
Joined: Thu 22 Jun 2006, 02:00:00

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 18:24:50

onlooker wrote:Ibon related to your post about religion and spirituality. I believe it can and will return in spades. Because of the harrowing nature of what is to come, people will seek answers, assistance and solace from a higher being/religion. And as for materialism well that will be rightly singled out as a cause of this great Calamity. But even more so the future world will embody constraints especially to consumption of all kinds


That is what I am assuming on the other hand I assume this planted firmly in atheism. I have a spiritual relationship with the natural world that does not require religious dogma. And I am discussing this in the way like a Pope would wanting to socially engineer his flock. That is why I am skeptical. Once science and reason and technology advance religious beliefs become dusty old dogma. Spirituality is something different. the moment you try to codify it and try to create a hierarchy of priests and ministers to manage the dogma then you compete directly with secular institutions.
Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
website: http://www.mounttotumas.com
User avatar
Ibon
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 7589
Joined: Fri 03 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Volcan, Panama

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 18:27:48

lpetrich wrote:
Newfie wrote:It also seems to have a hidden background assumption that our purpose in life, as a species, is to acquire knowledge. I’m good with that.

I hadn't thought of that. I had in mind knowing how our technology works and being able to do technical sorts of things. But to do such things means acquiring various sorts of knowledge and experience, so increasing our knowledge may still be thought of as a Good Thing.


Since we came out of the trees as a bipedal ape with an apposing thumb and large cerebral cortex we have been acquiring knowledge and tools as the Great Tinkerer. This would seem to be hardwired in our species and wont change no matter how much of a set back we might suffer both population and technology wise.
Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
website: http://www.mounttotumas.com
User avatar
Ibon
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 7589
Joined: Fri 03 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Volcan, Panama

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby Newfie » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 19:02:02

If it’s so deeply ingrained why are we pulling around 7 billion extra souls?

That question would seem to imply a second purpose to life, to multiply as much as possible, no matter what.

These seem to be two contradictory goals we have not reconciled.
User avatar
Newfie
Forum Moderator
Forum Moderator
 
Posts: 13248
Joined: Thu 15 Nov 2007, 03:00:00
Location: Between Canada and Carribean

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 21:53:42

Newfie wrote:If it’s so deeply ingrained why are we pulling around 7 billion extra souls?

That question would seem to imply a second purpose to life, to multiply as much as possible, no matter what.

These seem to be two contradictory goals we have not reconciled.


The Great Tinkerer has yet to turn that tinkering from the external of maximizing resource extraction toward the internal of tinkering with self regulation. There has been zero selection pressure to do so actually. Until now.
Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
website: http://www.mounttotumas.com
User avatar
Ibon
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 7589
Joined: Fri 03 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Volcan, Panama

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby Ibon » Sat 23 Jun 2018, 22:02:39

Newfie wrote:Well that begs the question... what is freedom, what does it consist of?

Freedom to carry a gun, freedom to reproduce, freedom to drink clean water, freedom to think are all different things.


All those freedoms you mentioned are subservient to the freedom of a healthy environment. You know, the bedrock out of which all these personal freedoms stem. You undermine that and you undermine all those other freedoms.
Our resiliency resembles an invasive weed. We are the Kudzu Ape
blog: http://blog.mounttotumas.com/
website: http://www.mounttotumas.com
User avatar
Ibon
Expert
Expert
 
Posts: 7589
Joined: Fri 03 Dec 2004, 03:00:00
Location: Volcan, Panama

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby ralfy » Sun 24 Jun 2018, 03:20:25

FWIW, most of the world's population generally practice humility. It's just that they do so because they have no choice.
http://sites.google.com/site/peakoilreports/
User avatar
ralfy
Light Sweet Crude
Light Sweet Crude
 
Posts: 4978
Joined: Sat 28 Mar 2009, 10:36:38
Location: The Wasteland

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby dohboi » Sun 24 Jun 2018, 09:24:37

Some may find this relevant, some not.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ms2klX-puUU

Pretty much matches some interactions between myself and my daughter when she was younger (but I had nicer underwear! :) ).
User avatar
dohboi
Harmless Drudge
Harmless Drudge
 
Posts: 18458
Joined: Mon 05 Dec 2005, 03:00:00

Re: What’s the Ideal Number of Humans on Earth?

Unread postby Yonnipun » Sun 24 Jun 2018, 10:05:48

Lots of talk and no action in this thread. Anyone else here has visited dr Snip?
Yonnipun
Peat
Peat
 
Posts: 169
Joined: Sat 07 Apr 2018, 03:29:19

Previous

Return to Environment, Weather & Climate

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 10 guests