Notices
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Positive questions about a desolate Earth

  1. #1 Positive questions about a desolate Earth 
    Forum Bachelors Degree Demen Tolden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    475
    I want to introduce a popular senario and see what people think leaving out the "humans are all screwed" and "you reap what you sow" mentalities. I mean that my questions are not intended towards the prevention of this senario, just what it might be like.

    Lets say far into the future from now, the effect of human overpopulation has produced so much waste and polution that it could not be handled responsibly. Government sponsored population control may have been unfeasable either because of cost to conduct to an enormous population, or the immorality of it. After enough time though, the environment took on this responsibility naturally. With all the accumulated effects such a large population of humans had on the environment, it became difficult for humans to live as they had. The "quality of life" mindset became replace with more of a mindset of "survival." Lets advance this senario a bit farther and frame my questions around a time where humans are forced to live in "clean" protected areas away from the exposure of the toxic outside world.

    What would a world like this be like? What kind of life would thrive and what would disapear? What kind of paths would evolution follow for life in general?

    I am also of the opinion that humans are intellegent, resourcful, adaptable creatures, and that they would really be difficult to exterminate under any circumstances. Any comments on this?

    Finally, after considering these questions, let me know how feasable this all seems if we have from now to the end of the earth to see it occur.


    The most important thing I have learned about the internet is that it needs lot more kindness and patience.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Masters Degree organic god's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    London
    Posts
    567
    humans are forced to live in "clean" protected areas away from the exposure of the toxic outside world.
    we already had an area like this. it was called earth and we ruined it.
    maybe we learn from history maybe not.
    in my opinion the human race would behave the same way and we would again produce toxins and destroy the safe zone.


    everything is mathematical.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Demen Tolden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    475
    Quote Originally Posted by organic god
    we already had an area like this. it was called earth and we ruined it.
    maybe we learn from history maybe not.
    in my opinion the human race would behave the same way and we would again produce toxins and destroy the safe zone.
    Quote Originally Posted by Demen Tolden
    I want to introduce a popular senario and see what people think leaving out the "humans are all screwed" and "you reap what you sow" mentalities. I mean that my questions are not intended towards the prevention of this senario, just what it might be like.
    You may be right organic god, but I really would like to look at this from a less pasionate perspective and consider what this future would be like.
    The most important thing I have learned about the internet is that it needs lot more kindness and patience.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4 Re: Positive questions about a desolate Earth 
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,525
    Quote Originally Posted by Demen Tolden
    I am also of the opinion that humans are intellegent, resourcful, adaptable creatures, and that they would really be difficult to exterminate under any circumstances. Any comments on this?
    The first part of your statement is true. Bear in mind, however, the history of the Norse settlements in Greenland and the way they disappeared. I strongly recommend Jared Diamond's Collapse. Also his earlier work, Guns, germs and steel as it provides interesting insights on technological simplification in isolated populations (Tasmania, Pacific Islands etc).

    Humans aren't necessarily that difficult to exterminate - we've only been around for about 50,000 years and that too, after going through a population bottleneck (which is why all human population are more genetically homogenous than chimpanzee populations). There isn't enough history to show humans (as we currently stand) surviving really trying circumstances.

    Finally, whatever your analysis, bear in mind that, despite the wishful thinking of some biologists, there is little point speaking of species level selection: each population will contain those who follow different ESSs (Evolutionary Stable Strategies) that will include co-operation, heirarchy and cheating. As populations fragment and grow smaller, it will be a lot easier for a sudden surge of cheats, for instance, to overwhelm, and consequently doom, the population; something that might easily have been corrected over evolutionary time proves fatal in a smaller population.

    In any case, the existence of mixed strategies suggests that if the scenario were replayed, humans are likely to have behaved in exactly the same way: we have enough people today itself prepared to fight the corner that ours is the best of all possible outcomes for human history and therefore something to be striven for! You may disagree, of course, but you aren't the tyrant of humanity, and wherever debate occurs, there will be differing viewpoints. Ergo, a universal co-operative effort that will help save the environment and reduce humanity's destructiveness is unlikely, now, or in a hypothetical re-run past.

    Equally, I am going to avoid the "We are doomed" scenario. We may well survive, and even thrive. All I'm saying is that it's not a foregone conclusion.

    cheer

    shanks
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Bachelors Degree Demen Tolden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    St. Paul, Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    475
    Quote Originally Posted by suhshinewarrio
    I strongly recommend Jared Diamond's Collapse. Also his earlier work, Guns, germs and steel
    I think I'll pick them both up and read them when I'm stuck in math. I was recomended this author by a friend as well.
    The most important thing I have learned about the internet is that it needs lot more kindness and patience.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6 Re: Positive questions about a desolate Earth 
    Forum Isotope Bunbury's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Colorado
    Posts
    2,590
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    after going through a population bottleneck (which is why all human population are more genetically homogenous than chimpanzee populations)....In any case, the existence of mixed strategies suggests that if the scenario were replayed, humans are likely to have behaved in exactly the same way:
    How small was the bottleneck? I know I've read this but don't recall; it was quite small though. If, to build on your example, there was a surge of altruists instead of cheaters, wouldn't human behavior look quite different today?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7 Re: Positive questions about a desolate Earth 
    Forum Professor sunshinewarrior's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    London
    Posts
    1,525
    Quote Originally Posted by Bunbury
    Quote Originally Posted by sunshinewarrio
    after going through a population bottleneck (which is why all human population are more genetically homogenous than chimpanzee populations)....In any case, the existence of mixed strategies suggests that if the scenario were replayed, humans are likely to have behaved in exactly the same way:
    How small was the bottleneck? I know I've read this but don't recall; it was quite small though. If, to build on your example, there was a surge of altruists instead of cheaters, wouldn't human behavior look quite different today?
    10,000-50,000 or thereabouts is what I've read.

    And while a surge of altruists may well be possible, it would merely set up a situation for the quick re-rise of cheats.

    A surge of 'cheats' on the other hand, relies upon further fissiparous groupings until one is left with a majority of altruists (in game theoretical models, I believe they use the notion that altruists have cheat-detector mechanisms and prefer to interact with non-cheats). The point is that some altruists have to be left: one altruist alone cannot co-operate (what is the sound of one communist co-operating?).

    At least, it seems that way asymmetrical to me.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •