Unless there is a mass human die-off I'm afraid Professor Hawking just may be correct.
The Earth will survive just fine. Humans won't, though.
The is no social or environmental problem not caused by or significantly worsened by human overpopulation.
Why are any of us spending time on this awesome/awful forum board complaining about global population and not going out into the populace to do something about it?
I've done my part by not contributing a dime to any African relief efforts and refusing to join the peace corp to bring fresh water and antibiotics to the 3rd world.
Assuming UFOs aren't real, I look to the lack of evidence of extraterrestrial life in the universe as an unsettling prognostication for our species. With a 13+ billion year-old universe, you'd think somebody would have already made it off their rock and colonized everywhere by now.
The population is never going to stabilize around 1 billion because there would have to be a natural factor that forcibly limits it to 1 billion. As it stands, with our technology and infrastructure we are well above 1 billion and could be so sustainably. So it is unlikely natural factors would be hospitable enough to host 1 billion people, but not hospitable enough to host more. An ideological explanation could not make it likely either. First, it isn't conceivable that the whole world would uniformly accept mere replacement population as a value. Like the present, divergence on this goal would manifest in many forms for cultural and religious reasons. Second, settling on 1 billion people as a stable global population is arbitrary. Why not 800 million? Why not 1.5 billion? If there is no natural factor constraining the range of population flux, there is no reason to believe it would not have a range from 0 to max population. Some may calculate 1 billion as the optimal population, but a calculation of 'optimal' would undoubtedly be based on reasons that cultures and religions are disposed to disagree on.
Last edited by Tribe171; 01-09-2017 at 12:55 AM.
In a nutshell, the idea is that we haven't detected or contacted other intelligent civilizations for one or more of the following reasons (there are actually many more reasons than this, but didn't want to do TL;DR):
- Intelligent civilizations can't attain sufficient technology for interstellar travel because they always end up blowing themselves up and/or destroying their planet via resource depletion and/or climate change in the process
- Related to the first, it takes so long for intelligent civilizations to reach the point of interstellar travel that if they don't nuke themselves or deplete their planet of natural resources, they eventually get wiped out or "reset" by a mass extinction event (asteroid strike, comet strike, etc.)
- Intelligent civilizations do exist and know about us but are not letting us be aware of them on purpose because we're "too young." (Star Trek Prime Directive $#@!)
- We are among the first group of intelligent civilizations to rise in our portion of the observable universe, and one group isn't sufficiently far enough ahead of the others to have made contact.
- We are just scratching the surface in our ability to detect and understand what a signal from an advanced civilization would be.
There are many more.
Since we started broadcasting radio waves, this is how far they've traveled:
Any civilization so far advanced wouldn't have any use for us other than observation and study. They would have access to resources beyond our ability to comprehend. What? Do they want our gold and diamonds? Unless they consider us a culinary delicacy there would be no good reason to pay much attention to us at all even in the incredibly remote chance that they would notice us in the first place.
God, we can be so full of ourselves.
Well exactly. That would be an excellent response to the Fermi Paradox.
But I would say that any advanced civilization that has reached the point of interstellar travel, perhaps with faster-than-light capability, would very likely not need our radio broadcasts to detect us.
We already have have the ability to detect planets within habitable zones of distant stars with our observation equipment. An advanced civilization hundreds, thousands or even millions of years ahead of us would surely be able to detect and observe planets in habitable zones of stars with much greater accuracy and detail than we could possibly imagine. In fact, they may be able to do so without the risk of interstellar travel so that would be another answer to the Fermi paradox. And that would go to your "observation and study" point... yeah... I think that would likely be an advanced civilization's most likely "use" for us at this point, not unlike how scientists on Earth study other animals, insects, etc.
All that space out there. Yeah, there's someone else out there too. We may never know, but to think we're all that there is floating out in all of that is pure foolishness. I'm not saying they've been here, but we're not alone in all of that.
Plenty of low probability events would make a big $#@!ing dent in the world's population. If enough dice are rolling at some point you are gonna get all 6s
density dependent population variables (disease) + global transport (air travel) = one big ass plague (not a matter of if, just a matter of when)
decent sized solar event (again not if, but when)
Religous nutjob nuking the planet for his god
Personally, I am most worried about ocean's collapsing... then we all proper $#@!ed. Wow, this is a fun thread huh guys?!
Great video on Fermi
Last edited by loco; 01-19-2017 at 05:28 PM.
Supervolcano is my personal favorite. Kind of hard to picture large mammals like us surviving that one, but we've pulled it off before, so who knows?
Magnetic poles flipping is a cool one to map out on $#@!tail napkins, too.
More likely, in my mind, though, is the collapse of coastal infrastructure due to subsidence, leading to a social breakdown which then devolves into all out civil war in the formerly industrialized, now dystopic West.
Between the two, I'm not sure which one is more likely to happen first. If I had to take a guess it would be a pole shift as we seem closer to the average occurrence of that than the super volcano. Doesn't mean it's tomorrow, but speaking in the scope of the earths entire timeline we are getting pretty damn close to the average of when each has happened in the past. (Like within thousands of years, so long for us but not so much in the big picture.) Could be in our lifetime, could be in 20 lifetimes. Could be 100 lifetimes. Not like this $#@! runs on a clock-like schedule by our comprehension of time.
You have to consider the enormity of space-time and our tiny existence within it. Let's assume this advanced civilization "exists" (present tense) somewhere. Let's assume they have the technology to transport instantaneously anywhere in space. It doesn't change the speed of light. Suppose they're here watching us right now. How and from where did they first observe us? However they managed to detect us would be limited by the speed of light. The observable universe is roughly 93 billion light years in diameter. Anyone looking in our direction from more than 4.5 billion light years away wouldn't even see our planet because it hadn't formed yet when whatever waves/particles they're observing were created. Residents of the Andromeda Galaxy looking at us right now are seeing Earth as it was 2.5 million years ago.
Even if a species could travel anywhere instantaneously, it doesn't change the fact that when we observe other galaxies/stars/planets, we're looking backward in time. If an advanced civilization from more than 100,000 light years away noticed life on our planet and transported here today, they would be surprised by the existence of humans. If they came from more than 6,000 light years away, they'd be surprised by our cities and agriculture and huge population. If that civilization evolved anywhere outside the Milky Way then their presence here would be strictly by random chance. (Unless they were the ones who seeded life on this planet to begin with.)
We're discussing the possibility of the evolution of this advanced species in a thread about the doubt of our own ability as a species to do the same. It's certainly possible that the evolution of consciousness ultimately leads to the extinction of the species. Maybe this hypothetical species has already existed and died off. Given the age and size of the universe I think it's probable that conscious species have evolved at any number of times throughout the cosmos no matter how remotely improbable. But for two to meet, they have to be in some proximity in terms of both space and time. In cosmological terms we humans have existed for barely a fraction of a second. And all we've done of interest is to harvest nuclear energy, put a man on the moon, and send some probes to other planets and even sent one out of our puny solar system. We're just not that interesting and the chances of anyone else satisfying the criteria of existing, noticing us, and caring enough to watch us without destroying us and taking all our resources are impossibly remote.
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