Topic: Serious Discussion /
The only way to save our species is to dramatically reduce our population
There are many ways of cutting down human population or its growth rate. However, there are many factors to consider when even attemting to do this, such as realisticity, ethical values, efficiency, controlability and future outcome
Let’s begin with the option we have. Lets assume someone or a council (of sorts) decides to that human population got to be lower than it is now after… say, 20 years. They can resort into following type of choices to execute “project X”, which should have following goals:
- Cut down reproduction rate by setting limits
- Outright kill human population
- Intentionally lower life expectancy
- Accelerate phenomenom known as “natural choise” (elaborations later)
- Just wait until natural phenomenom does one of the above
- We migrate into another planet and habitate it
Whichever goal was chosen, the results should look something like this:
- Our ability to reproduce must be secured
- Preferably the infrastructure already built should remain or excess infrastructure demolished without harming the nature
- Preferably, there should be a way to control the growth of human population after the “project X”
- The result should not lead into situation where most (if not all) people live in “inhumane” conditions
- Our ability to maintain our body by eating, drinking, defecate etc… should not be endangered or made impossible, unless they don’t hinder our ability to maintain our bodies (writer’s note: I don’t see any kind of technology being able to do this. We have our needs and we always do as long as we are defined as humans)
Lets start with cutting reproduction:
Is it realistic to even attempt doing something like this? Of course, the society has various ways manipulating reproduction rate. The question is, can we make all local societies to agree on this. Cutting down reproduction can be accomplished by mere book of law. For example, each family/couple is only allowed to have their eldest son. This is a controlled method. Any other sons will be killed and maybe the parents punished for attempting to have additional sons. Or, only select few individuals from your neighborhood are allowed to reproduce under strictly controlled conditions. Either way, while these methods can help humakind to drastically cut down reproduction rate, there is no guarantee everyone will agree on it. Nobody is willing to abide, even if it was written in the book of law and even if there are heavy sanctions for breaking it. This could become extremely problematic in developing countries (which, by the way, already have highest rate of all) where supervision would be very limited. Establishing an unit to enforce law of limited reproduction requires heavy funding and preferably top notch technology, something of which developing countries don’t have.
Even if such an unit was deployed, it could be only done to western countries, where there already is naturally low reproduction rate. The problems are developing countries, where having high reproduction rate is simply necessary due to high mortality rate and a raw need for labor force (farms and factories, anyone?). You’d need to turn developing countries wealth that is on par with the “western countries”. For that, you need excessive amount of time or you’d need to equalize the wealth distribution among all countries of the world. The first option is out question since in my opinion, humakind has already been wiped out by the time money streams would reach developing countries, or that we already have defiled our planet so much it is near inhabitable. Don’t tell me earth can carry all those waste dumps and toxic chemicals etc. dumped on top of earth.
The pros of this method would be its controllability and its still quite ethical and not robbing away “humane” life, even though a need to reproduce is within our genes, it’s not necessary. Even natural selection “knows” that (could not find a better world. And I’m saying this because I do not believe in creationism)
Eventually, the natural mortality rate would soon overlap reproduction rate. And since this method is controllable, you could always experiment by manipulating reproduction ratios until you find near perfect balance between mortality and birth rates. Hell, you could even combine other methods, such as age limit, with limited reproduction to further manipulate the growth of human population
Non-controlled reproduction alteration could involve something like a disease that could cripple the quality of man’s sperm, making fertilization impossible or a very lucky coincidence. However, using this method could lead into pernament sterility of all of mankind, should no man be left with an ability to reproduce. When talking about diseases, there is always a tiny chance it will infect all of mankind, thus completely destroying our dreams of everlasting human presence/civilization
(Jeez, this grew into a monstrous text wall and I still have a lot to say)
But into next point…
What if a global pandemic took over majority of world’s population? Can we just let it come naturally without even attempting to resist it or do we secretly create our own (defined by our own rules) potent microbe. Either way, the outcome would be a massive global devastation in human population. Corpses everywhere as one of the few naturally immune/survivor of pandemic walks down abandoned city streets. Human body is able to adapt and there is a very high chance some humans will live even after the outbreak of deadly pandemic. However, can these humans rebuild our civilization? They can, but the generation and some following generations will have hard time doing it… providing they can make new generations.
What I mean by this is that there is a chance that pandemic is too deadly and will hit dangerously too evenly across all continents. That kind of scenario would mean that the surviving humans would be scattered too evenly, thus unable to find each other and reproduce, providing the disease didn’t sterilize them (see above). However, I see that is a very unlikely chance if the mortality rate of pandemic remains in appropriate proportions. I’d say a rough estimate for this would be 95-99% mortality rate. Going above that could mean a risk of total extinction. However, I’d dare to say the chances of going beyond that are astronomically small.
with a generation being as short as 20 minutes for some of these species, you are looking at rapid evolution of a bacterium that was already designed to be fatal to 90-95% of the populace. You are going to lose many more to the variants that crop up.
Providing the pathogen is highly adaptive. If the pathogen was artificially made in human laboratories, the chances of it mutating to pester the future generations will be substantially lower. However, I do agree, that there is a risk it will go out of control and kill the future generations as well, who were supposed to be immune to a designed pathogen due to laws of genetic heritage
this of course means that the surviving populations become more and more homogenous over time, and less and less resistant to disease…
All diseases follow the same pattern, and yet, we have managed to survive. Even if the disease is deadly and highly infections does not mean it will contaminate everyone, especially when you consider how scarce the human population will be after the pandemic. It is very likely to make a comeback, but I still highly doubt it will be able to bring us down to a total extinction
Also, Pandemic wouldn’t wipe out the infrastructure, leaving something to feed on for our survivors and future generations. Having a lower population in the future could open up a variety of new options to control out reproduction rate, especially when you consider what the survivors learned of what global overpopulation could do.
Alternative method of killing humans would be via the use of technology. Nuclear weapons of today could do that, but the survivors would have to struggle with radiation levels, mown infrastructure and possible radical climate changes that are a result of excessive use of nuclear weapons. Under these conditions, the future of our next and survivor generations would be far from secured. Also, the usage of nuclear weapons makes it very difficult to evenly spread “wanted” survivors across the globe. You’d have to hundreds of thousands of nuclear weapon proof shelters/bunkers and sprinkle them across the globe, which in return requires a lot of funding.
In addition to that, how are you going to keep “the selected people” silent about the secret upcoming project to wipe out of most of humanity. Leakege of this secret project could lead into global riots, wars and just… well, anarchy. Unless we get a tool of mass destruction that does not have any after-effects to survivor generations and their followers, the option to use nuclear warfare is bad, at least in my opinion.
What if we lowered overall life expectancy? For example, what if a human was not allowed to live past their retirement age? (commonly 65-years). We all die eventually, but would it be unethical to set a static limit of our age and create a very well defined length of our lifetime? I don’t think many people will agree it would be ethical since unpredictable life expectancy has already been ingrained into us ever since we acknowledged that we are mortals. However, when it comes to utility and potential goals reached, we could solve many problems, especially in western countries where the pensioners are a huge portion of an overall population
(Forgive me for saying this but I must say this as an utilitarist) Pensioners don’t contribute to much to a community as workers. They still remain as consumers, which fuels the capitalist policies of western countries. However, should the need for consumers fade away, we would have little to no need for pensioners, who are less incapable of physical work and more prone to diseases. You could always use the sane individuals for brain work, but due to the ever growing population, I bet there will be enough of them from younger individuals, thus less productive elderly people would be first ones to be culled. Overall, community would be less stressed and less resource demanding for having to work for the pensioners and those incapable of work (the ones with crippling mental or physical illness). If we swear in the name of equality, all individuals who reach the pensioner age should be (humanely) put to rest.
If not, we could be more adaptive and do a health evaluation for each individual. In other words, we accelerate the natural selection and peel off “the weak”. Should you fail to pass the evaluation test, you will be put down to rest (in other words, executed). Personally, I don’t support this since even those evaluated low may have hidden potential. Besides, since we are humans, I’d say it is impossible to create a reliable test to determine “the worth” of an individual. And what forces people to come these tests to determine their worth? Many would escape their faith, especially the ones who know their “value” is low enough to be deemed as to be executed. The one responsible (government?) would have to set systematic manhunts to find the fugitives, which is very resource consumptive and thus costly. Controllability is not assured, even if you could kill an individual by remote, unless you’d kill the individual for attempting to escape. But what defines an attempt to escape? What if a man in his primes simply could not arrive to a testing facility in time because he was hiking at the Alps? Killing him would mean killing an innocent and a very “valuable” individual.
Unless we get some groundbreaking technology and manage to force all people using it, there is no way we can get all the individuals tested. Living in fear and waiting for your expiration date must be frightful for many
Still, there is still a chance that birth rate will exceed mortality rate even if mortality rate was accelerated so having this as the one true solution is not the answer. In addition, there is a risk of a homogenized gene pool that might accumulate over time as a result of heavily manipulated reproduction
Alternatively, we could just wait until a meteor strikes us, a super volcano erupts or some other natural disaster will wipe majority of us off the planet. However, without human manipulation, our reproduction rates will skyrocket and we may eventually find ourselves from a very familiar situation of overpopulation somewhere in the future. Trimming human population is only a temporal solution. You need to alter the reproduction rates to find long term solutions
Or, we could wait, develop technologies, build a small intergalactic settler ship, stuff some future colonists into cryogenic chambers, set the coordinates and hope they will eventually find their way into a habitable planet while you, the designer wait the downfall of mankind on earth. Oh, and if I know a human well enough, the new colonists would probably rob the planet first before thinking what they could have done to preserve it
Anyway, my post concentrated on the methods of trimming human population. It does not necessarily provide solutions of how to improve the average quality of a human life. For that, you’d need to redistribute wealth of people much better than it is and make unhabitable areas more habitable while developing technology that improves the resource conversion ratios
EDIT; I feel like I wrote a book. I can’t believe Kongragate supports so long posts xD