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Are humans subject to over-population like all other life?


charles brough
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It seems to me that over-population has little to do with not being enough food or being too jammed together. Any primate group tends to experience over-crowding when the group size grows in excess of the size its species evolved to be optimal to it.

 

We humans evolved to live in hunting/gathering size groups of less than one hundred. How have we manage to so dramatically exceed that---or have we?

Edited by charles brough
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Good question. I don't think we actually have gone much further than the groups of a hundred or so.

 

How many people do you interact with on a regular basis? I bet the number comes close that about a hundred. Perhaps two hundred.

Yes, actually studies have been done on this and the absolute maximum number is two hundred. We cannot remember names or faces of that many. (Some rare people are unable to recognize faces at all). We are limited that way because we evolved to not need to remember that many. We are actually more comfortable in groups of about forty people, a common hunnting-gathering group size. It is not concidence that platoons are about that size, as well as congregations, orchestras, and school classes. Army squads and sports teams are the size of the male hunting teams of hunter-gatherer groups and, as well, war parties,

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Yes, actually studies have been done on this and the absolute maximum number is two hundred. We cannot remember names or faces of that many. (Some rare people are unable to recognize faces at all).

 

What does this mean? Two hundred in one day?

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What does this mean? Two hundred in one day?

No, 200 in your social circle that you can keep track of. In total. Obviously, it's possible to recognize far more people. But the group of people that you maintain a stable social relationship with will not exceed 230... or at least, that's what has been proposed. It is described here (wikipedia). It's called "Dunbar's number".

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No, 200 in your social circle that you can keep track of. In total. Obviously, it's possible to recognize far more people. But the group of people that you maintain a stable social relationship with will not exceed 230... or at least, that's what has been proposed. It is described here (wikipedia). It's called "Dunbar's number".

Yes, we evolved in small groups so we are unable to really show much compassion and concern for those who are outside of what we regard as our group. People can show more genuine concern and compassion for a dog trapped on a sinking ship than whole nations suffering near starvation.

 

We are territorial also. We go to war rather than lose just a segment of our land. We also try to expand our territory, even create empires over other people. We still do; we're even doing it now.

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Yes, actually studies have been done on this and the absolute maximum number is two hundred. We cannot remember names or faces of that many. (Some rare people are unable to recognize faces at all). We are limited that way because we evolved to not need to remember that many. We are actually more comfortable in groups of about forty people, a common hunnting-gathering group size. It is not concidence that platoons are about that size, as well as congregations, orchestras, and school classes. Army squads and sports teams are the size of the male hunting teams of hunter-gatherer groups and, as well, war parties,

 

 

Yes, we evolved in small groups so we are unable to really show much compassion and concern for those who are outside of what we regard as our group. People can show more genuine concern and compassion for a dog trapped on a sinking ship than whole nations suffering near starvation.

 

We are territorial also. We go to war rather than lose just a segment of our land. We also try to expand our territory, even create empires over other people. We still do; we're even doing it now.

How can you possibly know this? Perhaps the way we can relate to smaller groups of people is what drove us to the group size we lived with, and not the other way around. Given that there is so little data about interactions between groups in our distant past it may have been that we interacted in much larger groups, but only lived in smaller groups. Perhaps our level of compassion and concern has absolutely nothing at all to do with group sizes in our past.

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No, 200 in your social circle that you can keep track of. In total. Obviously, it's possible to recognize far more people. But the group of people that you maintain a stable social relationship with will not exceed 230... or at least, that's what has been proposed. It is described here (wikipedia). It's called "Dunbar's number".

 

Hm, okay, interesting. Will read. Thanks.

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It seems to me that over-population has little to do with not being enough food or being too jammed together. Any primate group tends to experience over-crowding when the group size grows in excess of the size its species evolved to be optimal to it.

 

We humans evolved to live in hunting/gathering size groups of less than one hundred. How have we manage to so dramatically exceed that---or have we?

 

 

It's been shown that senseless creatures like insects are espeically prone to overpopulation, where as mammals do slightly better. They observe and notice when population start to get high and adjust their behaviour or living style.

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Are humans subject to over-population like all other life?

 

Here's the politically incorrect answer:

Some races of humans (controversially considered sub-species by some biologists) are subject to the phenomena of over-population, while others are not. Whether the reasons are more sociological or genetic is debatable.

 

Let us take a little look at the USA...

Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population grew by 15,171,776, accounting for 56 percent of the overall overall growth in the USA. There were 50,477,594 Hispanics as of April 1, 2010. The 10-year growth rate for Hispanics was 43 percent, compared to less than 5 percent for non-Hispanics.

 

There are 17,130,891 Hispanic children, accounting for 23.1 percent of the people in the USA under 18 years of age. Between 2000 to 2010, the number of Hispanic children grew by 4.8 million. (by comparison, the number of non-Hispanic White children shrank by 4.3 million) The demographics of children today are generally a very accurate reflection of what the future population will be.

 

The fertility rate for women of Hispanic origin was 97.5 live births per 1,000 women aged 15-44 years, which is 50 percent higher than the rate for non-Hispanic women. For women of Mexican origin the rate was 112.3 per 1,000. National Center for Health Statistics, most recent statistics collected in 1981 (for comparison, the average american female fertility rate in 1976 was only 29.6 ) This does not even take into account that hispanics have children at earlier ages. Just like compounding interest, even a slightly higher rate will cause huge differential effects after being compounded over time.

 

Meanwhile, the european white population is actually declining.

(this has not prevented the government from counting other non-european ethnicities as "white" so as not to sound any alarms)

 

Could humans potentially make a conscious decission to control the population growth? Yes.

But there do not appear to be any democratic governments willing to make the difficult decissions, at least not now.

But the longer we wait, the more difficult the necessary corrective action will become in the future.

China is already tackling this important issue... http://www.pop.org/content/coercive-population-control-in-china-new-1457

Edited by Anders Hoveland
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I agree with your politically incorrect answer. I had that in mind but did not say it previously. Certain people do seem to have this vast difference in behaviour from me, even if I am grouped with them in some race category or nation category. I have not much difference in behaviour with members of my family, though. If this entire world was made up of me, instead of these humanoids, then there would not be over-population ever.

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How can you possibly know this? Perhaps the way we can relate to smaller groups of people is what drove us to the group size we lived with, and not the other way around. Given that there is so little data about interactions between groups in our distant past it may have been that we interacted in much larger groups, but only lived in smaller groups. Perhaps our level of compassion and concern has absolutely nothing at all to do with group sizes in our past.

Considering that we, as humans, Homo Sapiens, emerged some two thousand years ago and have remained anatomically and physiologically much the same ever since, I think it would be reckless to think our social-group behavioral repertoire (social instincts) have undergone any change during that time.

 

If you assume it has, then you are hit with the over-whelming problem of finding out how, when, etc. If you assume it is the same, we can find every modern human social feeling and behavior just as it is in other primates and most mammals. And the fact that the marital system tends to break down late in every past civilization shows that we are still polygamous and impose monogamy only because societies function best when it is imposed by maritial belief systems.

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Considering that we, as humans, Homo Sapiens, emerged some two thousand years ago and have remained anatomically and physiologically much the same ever since, I think it would be reckless to think our social-group behavioral repertoire (social instincts) have undergone any change during that time.

Ok, so no recent changes. That sounds reasonable. Although how long ago did Homo Sapiens emerge?

 

If you assume it has, then you are hit with the over-whelming problem of finding out how, when, etc. If you assume it is the same, we can find every modern human social feeling and behavior just as it is in other primates and most mammals. And the fact that the marital system tends to break down late in every past civilization shows that we are still polygamous and impose monogamy only because societies function best when it is imposed by maritial belief systems.

I am not sure why you are telling me about monogamy and the marital system.

 

You said, "Yes, we evolved in small groups so we are unable to really show much compassion and concern for those who are outside of what we regard as our group."

 

My question is, how do you know that evolving in small groups caused us to have the inability to show much compassion for those outside our group?

 

Perhpas it is the other way around. Perhaps we started with an inability to show much compassion beyond a limited number of people, and therefore we only formed small groups.

 

Perhaps the limited compassion started well before humans evolved.

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Ok, so no recent changes. That sounds reasonable. Although how long ago did Homo Sapiens emerge?

 

 

I am not sure why you are telling me about monogamy and the marital system.

 

You said, "Yes, we evolved in small groups so we are unable to really show much compassion and concern for those who are outside of what we regard as our group."

 

My question is, how do you know that evolving in small groups caused us to have the inability to show much compassion for those outside our group?

 

Perhpas it is the other way around. Perhaps we started with an inability to show much compassion beyond a limited number of people, and therefore we only formed small groups.

 

Perhaps the limited compassion started well before humans evolved.

I am stunned to see that I had that we emerged 2,000 years ago. I meant to put down 200,000 years ago; that is the correct figure !!:huh:

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It seems to me that over-population has little to do with not being enough food or being too jammed together. Any primate group tends to experience over-crowding when the group size grows in excess of the size its species evolved to be optimal to it.

 

We humans evolved to live in hunting/gathering size groups of less than one hundred. How have we manage to so dramatically exceed that---or have we?

 

Also, humans have methods to police actions and enforce social norms of people we never have to personally be in contact with. Its a pretty cool effect that lets you build large civilizations, though I personally think is the most interesting on the municipal scale.

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It's been shown that senseless creatures like insects are espeically prone to overpopulation, where as mammals do slightly better. They observe and notice when population start to get high and adjust their behaviour or living style.

Yes, but we are not doing it. This is a good reference: http://forums.randi.org/showthread.php?t=232512&page=5

 

Here's the politically incorrect answer:

Some races of humans (controversially considered sub-species by some biologists) are subject to the phenomena of over-population, while others are not. Whether the reasons are more sociological or genetic is debatable.

 

Let us take a little look at the USA...

 

 

Meanwhile, the european white population is actually declining.

(this has not prevented the government from counting other non-european ethnicities as "white" so as not to sound any alarms)

 

Could humans potentially make a conscious decission to control the population growth? Yes.

But there do not appear to be any democratic governments willing to make the difficult decissions, at least not now.

But the longer we wait, the more difficult the necessary corrective action will become in the future.

China is already tackling this important issue... http://www.pop.org/c...-china-new-1457

I also pay no attention to what is "politically correct." But the blacks had advanced civilizations adjacent to that of Ancient Egypt and in Timbucto and the Semitic (now Muslim) races that now have too many children were the most advanced civilization on Earth about 1200 A.D. The "Mexicans" had an advanced civilization about that same time. We were in the Dark Ages while they prospered. In other words, it is not genetic. As you indicate, it is sociological.

 

The condition of a people's ideological system accounts for the condition of their society. It is "poitically incorrect" to refer to religions as binding people into societies and, hence, determining whether they progress or not, but ideological systems do. It appears races are unequal because the condition of the religion of society determines the quality of their civilization.

 

In other words, the reason we are not in control of the situation is that our secular belief system is no longer adequate to unite the world and solve its growing problems. We need a belief system able to replace the other religions and "isms", one that focusses us on controlling our numbers, limiting waste and over-use of our resoures, and promotes the colonizing of space.

 

My question is, how do you know that evolving in small groups caused us to have the inability to show much compassion for those outside our group? Perhpas it is the other way around. Perhaps we started with an inability to show much compassion beyond a limited number of people, and therefore we only formed small groups. Perhaps the limited compassion started well before humans evolved.

 

That is a "which-came-first, the chicken-or-the egg" question! Does it really matter to you if one came a little before the other? :blink:

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That is a "which-came-first, the chicken-or-the egg" question! Does it really matter to you if one came a little before the other? :blink:

No, but what does matter to me is that if a person makes an assertion that they be prepared to back it up, or not make it in the first place. Dancing around a request for evidence is unseemly. <_<

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Meanwhile, the european white population is actually declining.<br style="font-size: 13px; line-height: 17px; background-color: rgb(248, 250, 252); ">(this has not prevented the government from counting other non-european ethnicities as "white" so as not to sound any alarms)

 

And yet they are still the vast majority in the respective countries. Do you claim that there is currently a white overcrowding going on?

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Ok, so no recent changes. That sounds reasonable. Although how long ago did Homo Sapiens emerge?

I am not sure why you are telling me about monogamy and the marital system.

You said, "Yes, we evolved in small groups so we are unable to really show much compassion and concern for those who are outside of what we regard as our group."

My question is, how do you know that evolving in small groups caused us to have the inability to show much compassion for those outside our group?

Perhpas it is the other way around. Perhaps we started with an inability to show much compassion beyond a limited number of people, and therefore we only formed small groups.

Perhaps the limited compassion started well before humans evolved.

The anthropiological consensus seems to be that it was something a bit less than 200,000 years ago, but due to the development of some new ability, it was not until about 40,000 years ago that we really began to grow in number and develop technological skills.

Regarding compassion, there is no benefit and hence no evolutionary reason for people to feel compassion for others outside of their GROUP. What we humans have managed is to acquire speech and use it to build ideologies in common that bind us into larger, ideology-unity groups. Eventually, social evolution brought us to the point where we these GROUPS became nations, even civilizations.

 

But then, when the ideologies divided, people gradually lose that sense of community and allegence. Stress builds up and people have more trouble cooperating; crime also increases. Nations fight for resources, corruption grows, etc. etc.

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No, but what does matter to me is that if a person makes an assertion that they be prepared to back it up, or not make it in the first place. Dancing around a request for evidence is unseemly. dry.gif

Well, it isn't clear to me what you are unaware of and wish me to provide a URL for. Is it that the individual is inclined to feel more thoughtful concern over a group of our miners trapped by a cave-in than the news that hundreds of thousands of Africans are drifting towards starvation in the Seringetti ... or that we are evolved small-group territorial primates that will send out primarily male war parties when our territory, women and children are threatened? Do you need evidence that these human characteristics evolved together and that neither began before the other? If the problem stems from offending spiritual sensibilities, I won't press the matter any further . . .
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Well, it isn't clear to me what you are unaware of and wish me to provide a URL for. Is it that the individual is inclined to feel more thoughtful concern over a group of our miners trapped by a cave-in than the news that hundreds of thousands of Africans are drifting towards starvation in the Seringetti ... or that we are evolved small-group territorial primates that will send out primarily male war parties when our territory, women and children are threatened? Do you need evidence that these human characteristics evolved together and that neither began before the other? If the problem stems from offending spiritual sensibilities, I won't press the matter any further . . .

Well, here was my question.

 

My question is, how do you know that evolving in small groups caused us to have the inability to show much compassion for those outside our group?

 

I don't know how else to state it. You implied a cause and effect. 'we evolved in small groups' so 'we are unable to really show much compassion and concern for those who are outside of what we regard as our group'.

 

What is your evidence to back up this claim?

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