Michael Battalio

Friday, July 26, 2013

Serious conversations (part 52):

        This series is a continuation of my conversations with an atheist friend of mine. These are my edited responses from that conversation. The fifty-first and fifty-second entries deal with overpopulation.

        Previously I commented that as far as overpopulations is concerned, we are doomed either by our own greed, self destruction, or by mother nature.

        Certainly though, not everyone is a pessimistic as I, otherwise economies would have already collapsed.  I suppose people are relying on future human ingenuity to take care of the problems we are creating.  For example, I know there are several projects ongoing on how to cool the planet a few degrees under the assumption that we will limit the greenhouse gasses and there will only be a few degrees of warming.  They might work, but I wouldn't count on them.  As far as overpopulation, I just don't see how we get around it without swift governmental action.  We cannot continue reproducing at the rate we currently are. Our government is too busy solving problems of its own creation (i.e. the debt crisis) than to deal with the hard questions that must be answered for human longevity.  On the other hand, maybe we'll figure out fusion. With basically unlimited energy, many problems will be much easier to fix.  I think the development of a new, clean, and abundant energy source is the lynchpin in whether we survive.  

        Don't get me wrong, I don't think we are anywhere near getting fusion.  I am simply noting that it would be nice to have it.  It seems as if we have been 20 years from cheap fusion for decades.  But if we do get there the only environmental problems that can't be fixed are urban sprawl and destruction of habitat. Though piping desalinated water from say the Gulf of Mexico into the Great Plains, for example, will be a monstrous undertaking.  Again, if we can fix overpopulation and find a clean power source all the other problems will take care of themselves.  How simple! You’re welcomed planet.

        Again though, I think the only way to quickly deal with overpopulation is to legislate it.  Simply waiting for the third world to industrialize and reduce its population growth just isn't a solution.  At this point I'm not arguing for something as draconian as China's policy, but I definitely think that there should be tax benefits to married couples that have two or fewer children.  Catholics would freak out at that though.  They'd call it religious persecution, and it certainly would never get through Congress. Realistically we must encourage social custom to value fewer numbers of children and better educate people our age and younger about overpopulation.  With that we need to advocate sex education programs for youth.  Education for this is the key to solving it.  I suppose education is the key to solving just about everything.  If only we could teach everyone about the sciences and have them actually learn and understand what they are taught, a lot of these problems would be at least easier to solve.

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