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Old 19th April 2019, 04:21 PM   #121
hank hill
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The answer to this query depends mostly on the amount of agricultural land is on Earth and how much of it can be used to grow crops (the net amount of nutrients possible on our planet). That is until we expand to other planets. Only consumerism prevents us from using all possible agricultural land. The illusion of shortage.
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Old 19th April 2019, 08:33 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It's one of those axiom things.

Where do you think the human view of the world should be centered?

Me? I'm a humanist. Man is the measure of all things, for the simple reason that man is the one doing the measuring.

Maybe you feel differently. Maybe you feel there's some arbiter of value that has higher authority than you. But what is that arbiter? God? But you don't believe in God. The government? But you dissent from the government all the time. The masses? You dissent from the masses, too.

Even if you decide that the elephant has agency, and sets its own value, it's still you doing the deciding. If you undecide, what can the elephant do about it? It is the man, not the elephant, that has the final say about the ivory trade.
I guess I don't understand the axiom thing. I don't see why anyone has to be an arbiter of values. We exist. To survive, we need priorities and cooperation. I guess that means we value survival, as do many other species. But that's a pragmatic stance rather than a philosophical one. Unless pragmatism is a species of philosophy.
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Old 19th April 2019, 09:16 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It does raise some interesting questions about what "the best balance" means, though.
Best balance to me would mean a robust and sustainable ecosystem. More diverse ecosystems are more stable and cope better with environmental fluctuations etc. The ecosystem is of course incredibly complex and it's often difficult to ascertain the exact role or impact of any particular species. I'm sure a robust and sustainable ecosystem would be possible with many fewer species than currently around, but who knows? How many do you really need to make it robust enough?

Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Do you care about the termites? Is the mass slaughter of termites to accommodate humans "the best balance", assuming that all life has value? Are termites and humans of equal value? Or are some animals really more equal than others, in your eyes?
And if termites have "life value", but we think nothing of massacring them whenever they inconvenience us, why do we get so upset when someone treats human "life value" the same way?
And how do you figure the life value of termites, anyway? Is one termite equal to one human? Or is it based on biomass - ten stone of termites is as valuable as ten stone of human?
Termites are critical for the ecosystem, not for your house. Fumigate the buggers, but keep the wild ones healthy. Unless you plan on having a lucrative termite circus - then don't fumigate!
I don't know how to value bugs vs humans.
Numerous Millions of Termites << 1 Human Life
All Termites >> 1 Human Life

Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
The Guinea worms truly are the exception. No value....unless maybe one proclaims they have some educational extrinsic value as an example of the exception of the rule! That's a pretty big stretch
Imagine Notre Dame burnt all the way to the ground, totally destroyed. Or a meteorite or something hit the Lincoln Memorial, completely obliterated. Or a ginormous sinkhole swallowed the whole Arlington National Cemetery. Some freak accident or something melts the Statue of Liberty.
Do you think the human race would have lost something of value?
Every species is like a monument to the last few billion years of evolution. All of it written in it's DNA. Each totally unique in the Universe. That is where I feel the intrinsic value comes from.

No single organism or even millions of microorganisms or worms or insects could be worth a human life, but in aggregate they are much more important to the ecosystem than humans are.
I'm not saying don't treat diseases or parasites, but before killing off a species at lest make a monument to the monument and keep some in a zoo or a freezer or a volunteer or something.
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Old 19th April 2019, 09:26 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I just don't get that "should."
Nothing I could say will make you get it. As theprestige said, it's axiomatic. And your moral axioms are fundamentally incompatible with mine.
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Old 19th April 2019, 10:13 PM   #125
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So you believe that just because humans are the smartest most powerful creatures on the planet - and because we are humans - it gives us the right to do whatever we see fit with other less smart and powerful species?
It's not the way we run our society and it's certainly not the way we would like to be treated should we ever meet a smarter more powerful species.
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Old 19th April 2019, 11:57 PM   #126
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I guess I'm in the corner with the super-hero loving romantics who believe that since we are the smartest most powerful species here, we are in the unique position to be the only ones capable of understanding how the whole thing works and possibly anticipating some disaster and having the means to mitigate or avert it (instead of causing it). With great power comes great responsibility.


We have already had a HUGE (with no end in sight) impact on an ecosystem we don't understand. Not only do we and our livestock make up a quarter of all terrestrial animal biomass, we have also managed to decrease the total biomass the Earth is carrying by two fold since the start of civilization. How healthy can that be...
I just hope we manage to get things under control before some tipping point is reached.
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Old 20th April 2019, 12:29 AM   #127
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
So you believe that just because humans are the smartest most powerful creatures on the planet - and because we are humans - it gives us the right to do whatever we see fit with other less smart and powerful species?
It's not the way we run our society and it's certainly not the way we would like to be treated should we ever meet a smarter more powerful species.
Why are you intent on trying to read in the worst possible interpretation of what I said? Nothing in this post actually follows from my posts.
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Old 20th April 2019, 01:20 AM   #128
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I'm so sorry*. Your posts have been concise one or two sentence statements with some questions thrown in. I have difficulty working out exactly what your position is and what you mean overall. Could you please explain your views and beliefs at slightly more lenth?


*Also note it was originally a question. I changed it to a 'so'. Statements after a 'so' are apparently notorious for misrepresenting someones view. After reading a 'so' you should really have expected it.
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Old 20th April 2019, 02:18 AM   #129
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A population of zero is easily sustainable. Zero is not a needy number. It practically sustains itself.
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Old 20th April 2019, 04:35 AM   #130
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post

No single organism or even millions of microorganisms or worms or insects could be worth a human life, but in aggregate they are much more important to the ecosystem than humans are.
I'm not saying don't treat diseases or parasites, but before killing off a species at lest make a monument to the monument and keep some in a zoo or a freezer or a volunteer or something.
Except that's not true. Again, the guinea worm brings no value to any ecosystem. It truly is the exception to the rule.
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Old 20th April 2019, 07:17 AM   #131
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What is not true?

The top 5 most valuable for the ecosystem are: plants, bacteria, fungi, archaea and protists - about in that order. Animals don't even feature.
As far as animals are concerned the top 5 are: arthropods, fish, annelids, moluscs and cnidarians - about in that order. Warm blooded animals don't make the top 5.
Humans have no real value in the ecosystem and have caused the most harm of any other single species since we arrived. Did you miss how the total biomass of the Earth has decreased two fold since the start of civilization? How many species have gone extinct directly due to our presence?

I'm reluctant to use value/harm to the ecosystem as criteria for deciding which species are good and which bad.
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Old 20th April 2019, 08:17 AM   #132
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
Nothing I could say will make you get it. As theprestige said, it's axiomatic. And your moral axioms are fundamentally incompatible with mine.
What are my moral axioms?
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Old 20th April 2019, 08:42 AM   #133
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Yes I want axioms! What is yours? What is mine? What is theprestige's? Ziggurat's? How are they fundamentally incompatible?
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Old 20th April 2019, 08:54 AM   #134
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
What are my moral axioms?
I don't know most of them. But I know that they don't include prioritizing humans (because you said so).
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Old 20th April 2019, 09:30 AM   #135
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Yes I want axioms! What is yours? What is mine? What is theprestige's? Ziggurat's? How are they fundamentally incompatible?
If I say, "I'll have to think about it," does that mean I don't have any axioms? I suppose so, because as far as I can tell axioms are what you accept without thinking about it.

Thinking
about it, though, I could probably come up with some conditional statements, or (probably more likely) a series of questions for discussion.
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Old 20th April 2019, 09:32 AM   #136
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Originally Posted by Ziggurat View Post
I don't know most of them. But I know that they don't include prioritizing humans (because you said so).
"Moral axioms aren't necessary" seems to be one of them.
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Old 20th April 2019, 09:58 AM   #137
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
If I say, "I'll have to think about it," does that mean I don't have any axioms? I suppose so, because as far as I can tell axioms are what you accept without thinking about it.
There's no requirement that you not think about your axioms. Most people don't, and most of the time it doesn't matter.

But when you're talking about major policy proposals, it can be helpful to take a step back and think about what you actually believe in, and what values you're actually trying to uphold.

We shouldn't replace chapparal with housing developments? Okay, but why not? What actually is the value that drives this policy? What is the belief that's being expressed here? Is it widely held? Is it even understood that this is the belief we're basing our policy on?
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Old 20th April 2019, 11:50 AM   #138
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
What is not true?
You couldn't back your claim about guinea worms so you then made an aggregate claim, including the valueless guinea worms as potentially having value within some larger ecosystem whole. But it is still valueless and does not add any value to the aggregate either.
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Old 20th April 2019, 06:47 PM   #139
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
There's no requirement that you not think about your axioms. Most people don't, and most of the time it doesn't matter.

But when you're talking about major policy proposals, it can be helpful to take a step back and think about what you actually believe in, and what values you're actually trying to uphold.

We shouldn't replace chapparal with housing developments? Okay, but why not? What actually is the value that drives this policy? What is the belief that's being expressed here? Is it widely held? Is it even understood that this is the belief we're basing our policy on?
I haven't said anything about what should or shouldn't happen. To form an opinion on chaparral vs. a housing development I would want more information.
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Old 20th April 2019, 08:08 PM   #140
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Going all the way back to the OP, population of what? Humans? Probably zero.
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Old 20th April 2019, 08:55 PM   #141
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
You couldn't back your claim about guinea worms so you then made an aggregate claim, including the valueless guinea worms as potentially having value within some larger ecosystem whole. But it is still valueless and does not add any value to the aggregate either.
I didn't change any claim, it clearly says 'aggregate' in the very bit you quoted.
You replied to some of my answer but apparently didn't read it, not even the bit you quoted.

I made it clear why I value life and it was not because of its value in the ecosystem. Do you value monuments?? In my second post to you - repeating the same question I already answered - I explained why and restated it. You ignored that also.
I showed that humans have caused far more harm to the ecosystem than an army of guinea worms ever could. Crickets.

In any case, I already gave you the worm you want to kill off so badly (also in the bit you quoted). Just build a damn monument to it!
Rather focus on getting clean water and sanitation to the poor people in Africa and the worm won't even be a problem.

Are you still so keen on getting rid of species that have no real value and cause lots of harm to the ecosystem?
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Old 20th April 2019, 11:09 PM   #142
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
I showed that humans have caused far more harm to the ecosystem than an army of guinea worms ever could. Crickets.
The issue isn't whether humans have the ability to destroy, (that's self evident) the issue is whether we have the ability to create or heal as well. It is because of this duality of skills that gives us a choice. Thus while we are currently way over populated, we actually could restore vast areas of the planet's ecosystem services and ultimately sustain a far greater population than even now without harming the planet. But it takes a choice to decide to create rather than destroy.

Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
In any case, I already gave you the worm you want to kill off so badly (also in the bit you quoted). Just build a damn monument to it!
Rather focus on getting clean water and sanitation to the poor people in Africa and the worm won't even be a problem.
You build the monument. I will focus on other more valuable pursuits. Oops, already am

Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Are you still so keen on getting rid of species that have no real value and cause lots of harm to the ecosystem?
The guinea worm is the exception to the rule. The rule is to increase biodiversity. That is part of what I do, yes.
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Old 21st April 2019, 12:18 AM   #143
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
The issue isn't whether humans have the ability to destroy, (that's self evident) the issue is whether we have the ability to create or heal as well. It is because of this duality of skills that gives us a choice. Thus while we are currently way over populated, we actually could restore vast areas of the planet's ecosystem services and ultimately sustain a far greater population than even now without harming the planet. But it takes a choice to decide to create rather than destroy.
So what counts is not what we did, or what we are currently doing, but what we are capable of doing? The good we might do?
What good are we doing, what good have we done so far?
The only possible good we can do for the the foreseeable future is try to mitigate the damage we have already caused and that will continue to be caused for years to come, no matter what we start doing right now. That's the best be can do and I hope we do it.
Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
You build the monument. I will focus on other more valuable pursuits. Oops, already am
Oops, if you just carefully read my posts to you, you might realize what I was actually suggesting.


Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
The guinea worm is the exception to the rule. The rule is to increase biodiversity. That is part of what I do, yes.
How do you know so little about life on the planet and ecology then? Take this guinea worm you are so fixated on, the "exception to the rule". Where do you get this from?
Why hammer the poor worm, it's one insignificant parasite on one (maybe a few) species of mammal? As a species it has basically no impact on the ecosystem at large.
Literally every species of sufficiently complex life on the planet has one or more parasites that prey on it.
About half* of all species are probably parasites, half of all biodiversity!
An exception to the rule, really?


* Here, I looked it up for you, it's a very interesting article, worth a read. Especially take note of their role in the ecological food web.
Homage to Linnaeus: How Many Parasites? How Many Hosts?
It's quite disgusting to think about it but:
Quote:
In the best-studied taxa, an average mammalian host species appears to harbor two cestodes, two trematodes, and four nematodes, and an acanthocephalan is found in every fourth mammalian species examined. Each bird species harbors on average three cestodes, two trematodes, three nematodes, and one acanthocephalan
In comparison to parasites, mammals are really the exception to the rule. In numbers and species.
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Old 21st April 2019, 05:35 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
I haven't said anything about what should or shouldn't happen. To form an opinion on chaparral vs. a housing development I would want more information.
It was an example. Congratulations on finding the least significant sentence in the post. Cross it out, read the post again, and see if you can find something more interesting to say.
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Old 21st April 2019, 07:24 AM   #145
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
So what counts is not what we did, or what we are currently doing, but what we are capable of doing? The good we might do?
What good are we doing, what good have we done so far?
The only possible good we can do for the the foreseeable future is try to mitigate the damage we have already caused and that will continue to be caused for years to come, no matter what we start doing right now. That's the best be can do and I hope we do it.
In a word yes. The topic at hand is "What would be the ideal global population in terms of sustainability?" and although the question is poorly phrased, I am trying to mainly stick close to topic. Value of ecosystems and ecosystem services is part of the problem.

Quote:
"Ecosystem function is vastly more valuable than the production and consumption of goods and services." -John D. Liu
I have heard much of what John D. Liu has to say and at this particular point I believe he absolutely correct. Our current economics of scarcity are such that they are backwards. Our current systems generally place little to no value on ecological systems until we destroy them to make goods and services. He is right. This is a fundamental logic flaw that needs corrected.

And I believe we can actually correct it too. Otherwise the evil people calling for the mass murder of multi billions to reduce human overpopulation are right. (Or the even more evil people who by default would allow hunger and disease do the same thing just because they can't be bothered to make the changes needed) Because there really are only two ways to eliminate over population; Reduce population, or increase carrying capacity. And please note the definition of carrying capacity is what can be sustained long term. Sustainability is the key point.

I have proposed using a carbon market as a proxie to ecosystems and their function because all life on the planet is carbon based. It may not be a perfect proxie, but I believe it would be functional enough to remove this fundamental logic flaw in our economic systems that are constantly in danger of the tragedy of the commons.
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Old 21st April 2019, 05:26 PM   #146
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
It was an example. Congratulations on finding the least significant sentence in the post. Cross it out, read the post again, and see if you can find something more interesting to say.
Because it was an example I could engage with it.

Originally I questioned the statement that because we are humans, we should have a human-centric value system. I'm not inherently against human-centric values; I just question the "should."

I am a lot of things. In my opinion, it doesn't follow that what I am should dictate my values.
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Old 21st April 2019, 06:26 PM   #147
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
Because it was an example I could engage with it.



Originally I questioned the statement that because we are humans, we should have a human-centric value system. I'm not inherently against human-centric values; I just question the "should."



I am a lot of things. In my opinion, it doesn't follow that what I am should dictate my values.
If who and what you are doesn't dictate what you believe and what you want, then what does dictate that?
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Old 21st April 2019, 08:45 PM   #148
Minoosh
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If who and what you are doesn't dictate what you believe and what you want, then what does dictate that?
I just had a problem getting past the "should" statement. I'm American - does that mean I should value American lives more than others? I'm a woman - should I have woman-centric values? What does that even mean? I don't know what dictates what I want. Bodily comfort is probably right up there.

Why I seized on your example: Chaparral vs. a housing development puts things into concrete terms. To me the only rational answer is, it depends. If we're wiping out the last bit of some critical habitat then we probably ought to think twice about it. Apply that on a global scale and we're back to the topic of the thread.
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Old 21st April 2019, 10:22 PM   #149
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
If who and what you are doesn't dictate what you believe and what you want, then what does dictate that?
I agree with Minoosh, what you are should definitely not dictate what you believe and how you act, although it will influence you.
We know quite a lot about how humans think and we are riddled with cognitive biases. Ways of thinking and behaving that feels totally normal (because they are) and rational (they aren't) because they provided survival advantages and were favored by evolution.
People value closer family more than strangers, the in-group more than the out, taller more handsome people more than others less so, men over women in some positions of authority etc. etc. Even being aware of your bias and abhorring it does not exempt you from doing it, you could still do it, still be biased subconsciously.
I'm sure we'll agree that in modern society we are expected to not give wild reign to these behaviors, but to behave rationally and keep those biases in check in certain situations, even though we might still subconsciously be engaging in them - there are even laws.
One seriously huge cognitive bias everyone (almost every animal) has (for obvious evolutionary reasons) is that YOU are the most important thing in the world and by implication your in-group.
This bias is responsible for a heck of a lot of the bad things humans do.
You are not the most important thing in the world, neither is your in-group, or your species - but we all know it certainly feels like it.

Human-centrism is a cognitive bias.
When discussing what's good for the planet and the ecosystem, you have to be very aware of it.
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Old 21st April 2019, 11:36 PM   #150
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
In a word yes. The topic at hand is "What would be the ideal global population in terms of sustainability?" and although the question is poorly phrased, I am trying to mainly stick close to topic. Value of ecosystems and ecosystem services is part of the problem.
Yeah, I have no idea how to go about quantifying the value or importance of different components of the system. The "ideal population in terms of sustainability" is very vague, so where do we start?
A sustainable human population could probably be anything from say a million to 10 billion. The human ecological footprint could vary wildly depending on technology, difficult to know what will be possible in future.
How about picking an acceptably high standard of living, determining a plausible ecological footprint per person and then plotting population size against the biodiversity carrying capacity of the rest of the planet? Has that been done?
How many humans could the earth carry with pre-industrial levels of biodiversity, with current biodiversity, with less?
Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
I have proposed using a carbon market as a proxie to ecosystems and their function because all life on the planet is carbon based. It may not be a perfect proxie, but I believe it would be functional enough to remove this fundamental logic flaw in our economic systems that are constantly in danger of the tragedy of the commons.
Did you see this graph from the second article I linked to? Many gigatons of Carbon shifting around.
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Old 21st April 2019, 11:59 PM   #151
The Great Zaganza
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by just looking at history, we know that the limit of sustainable population is a function of technology: what looks stable now would have been orders of magnitude too large 10,000 years ago.
And there is no reason to assume that technological progress is coming to a hard limit that would prevent further increases in sustainable population size.

The question is really: how many people do we want to share a planet with.
Asimov had some answers to that, and it was between tens of billions and none, depending on your level of wealth.
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Old 22nd April 2019, 12:35 AM   #152
Red Baron Farms
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Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
by just looking at history, we know that the limit of sustainable population is a function of technology: what looks stable now would have been orders of magnitude too large 10,000 years ago.
And there is no reason to assume that technological progress is coming to a hard limit that would prevent further increases in sustainable population size.
History has also shown us that technology can produce bubbles too, that when they collapse bring dramatic suffering and loss of life.

It really depends on the technology and if it is renewable and/or regenerative.

Unfortunately fossil fuels and agrochemicals have brought a bubble and not a sustainable increase in carrying capacity. So we must rapidly convert to sustainable energy and regenerative agricultural systems before the bubble bursts.

If we wait till after the bubble bursts, it will get really really bad.

Originally Posted by The Great Zaganza View Post
The question is really: how many people do we want to share a planet with.
Asimov had some answers to that, and it was between tens of billions and none, depending on your level of wealth.
I don't believe that is the question at all. Because knowing, we are still not doing. And this risks the lives of billions. No one is safe. I don't care how rich you are.
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Old 22nd April 2019, 12:37 AM   #153
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It's an interesting question though.

Ignoring ecological footprint (assume technology solved it), if you had to cater to the bell curve and maximize standards of living how many people would fit?
How large would you like your yard to be? How close are your neighbors? Do you even want a yard?
Some would live nowhere but in a busy, bustling city, others would probably prefer to walk out their front door, scan the horizon all round and not see another human.
How much space would the average human be happy with?
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Old 22nd April 2019, 12:50 AM   #154
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Yeah, I have no idea how to go about quantifying the value or importance of different components of the system. The "ideal population in terms of sustainability" is very vague, so where do we start?
Quite naturally we start by changing our fundamental economic, energy and agricultural systems to sustainable systems. Once we have done that we will have a much better idea where to go from there. It's kinda important to do what you know how to do already, before speculating on the unknown. Some of those issues might not even exist by then.

Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
Did you see this graph from the second article I linked to? Many gigatons of Carbon shifting around.
I like that it is graphed as a stocks and flow problem, because this helps people visualize how it could be possible to have a carbon market similar to the stock markets and money markets. This allows the functionality of uncovering the hidden costs that cause the tragedy of the commons and Malthusian collapses. This economics of abundance should end up being as self balancing as the current economics of scarcity.
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Old 22nd April 2019, 01:15 AM   #155
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Originally Posted by Red Baron Farms View Post
Quite naturally we start by changing our fundamental economic, energy and agricultural systems to sustainable systems. Once we have done that we will have a much better idea where to go from there. It's kinda important to do what you know how to do already, before speculating on the unknown. Some of those issues might not even exist by then.
I meant where do we start figuring out a ballpark figure for a sustainable population, how to do it is another matter.
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Old 22nd April 2019, 04:18 AM   #156
Red Baron Farms
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
I meant where do we start figuring out a ballpark figure for a sustainable population, how to do it is another matter.
That's what I meant. We do to find out. This is because it is a complex Means-end chain. We have to do it to find out what gain we end up with.

I have tried projecting the gain in soil carbon the change in agriculture would bring. Many people attack it because where is the proof in doing? They claim usually either much smaller changes in soil fertility, and/or exaggerate what they think will be yields losses.

The thing is that I am pretty sure I am underestimating both the flow and the gain in yields. Mostly because you simply cant fundamentally change land management on 40% of the land surface of the planet without their being emergent properties of the system! I am confident these will multiply the benefits.

But I can't prove it until we start doing it. The proof will be in the pudding so to speak.
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Old 22nd April 2019, 06:03 AM   #157
theprestige
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Originally Posted by Minoosh View Post
If we're wiping out the last bit of some critical habitat then we probably ought to think twice about it.
My question to you is: Why? What do you believe, that makes you say this? How does this belief inform your global policy?
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Old 22nd April 2019, 06:07 AM   #158
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
You are not the most important thing in the world
Okay, sure. Let's take a closer look at this. You, Cheetah, are not the most important thing in the world.

What *is* the most important thing? How do you know? What do you do about it?
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Old 22nd April 2019, 07:20 AM   #159
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Originally Posted by theprestige View Post
Okay, sure. Let's take a closer look at this. You, Cheetah, are not the most important thing in the world.

What *is* the most important thing? How do you know? What do you do about it?
If discussing a healthy ecosystem 'biodiversity' would be a good choice. A more diverse ecosystem is more adaptable and able to cope with adverse events and recover from disasters. What specifically is most important then becomes a science question.

In your opinion, what is the most important thing(s) for a healthy society?
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Old 22nd April 2019, 08:01 AM   #160
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Originally Posted by Cheetah View Post
If discussing a healthy ecosystem 'biodiversity' would be a good choice. A more diverse ecosystem is more adaptable and able to cope with adverse events and recover from disasters. What specifically is most important then becomes a science question.
"Adverse events" and "disasters" are both subjective value judgements, based on some as-yet-unexamined value.

The flooding of New Orleans was a disaster because we value human life and human artifacts. There's nothing inherently disastrous about a littoral wetland. We just call it "disastrous" when it conflicts with our goals and values.

Quote:
In your opinion, what is the most important thing(s) for a healthy society?
Regardless of how you define a healthy society, I think it's probably a complex question without any one single thing being the "most" important.

That said, why is a healthy society the most important thing? Some folks in this thread are saying that humans aren't the most important thing, that privileging human concerns is not necessarily a matter of 'should'. But you can't seem to get away from the idea.
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