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Jeffrey Fadness

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Are we as a species like a viral infection that will eventually destroy its host...?

Modern man can trace its origins back some 200,000 years, at least anatomically, and 50,000 years back in behavioral modernity. Yet in just 211 years, from 1800 to 2011, human population grew from 1 billion to 7 billion souls. In the year 2011 alone, it's estimate that 135 million human beings were born, 57 million died, resulting in a net population increase of 78 million people in just one year! That's an average increase of nearly 214 thousand people daily, or ~8,900 per hour.

Assuming the rate of population growth stays constant, at this pace global population will double to more than 14 billion people in just the next 10 years. And then what? Do we double once again to 30 billion+ by the year 2033?

And will population growth actually continue to accelerate, with less attrition from continued gains in life expectancy through better health care and medical science?

Clearly, all these folks are going to need food, shelter, and things to do. More cars, streets, shopping and entertainment centers, business centers, government centers, learning centers, clothing, homes and the list goes on and on!

We as a species have been incredibly successful; much of which has come at the expense and impact upon other species, and our environment.

The Earth is a finite space with finite resources. How does this all play out? Do we eventually deplete and destroy our Host -- Mother Earth? What are the implications and what are the solutions...?


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    Mar 14 2013: The Earth may be limited in resources, but we are not bound to the Earth. As we get better at space travel, we will be mining and harvesting everything from gold to water from asteriods and comets.
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      Mar 14 2013: Who is this 'we'? The particular piece of rock named earth is about 4.5 billion years old. The proteins came to exist 3.8 billion years ago, Humans came to exist 250 thousand years ago, we have a history of written records of human's exploits from around 3000 years ago. If Juan Enriquez is to be believed, humans are already speciating into Homo Evolutis. Before inter planetary travel in economic sense takes place, it will be which 'we' exactly?
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        Mar 14 2013: Wow. Just, wow.

        Slow your roll, there. We are not a different species than Homo-sapien-sapien. Our DNA has not changed enough to prevent interbreeding (definition of a species). Not only that, but we are not 100,000 years away from mining asteriods. Try 100 years.

        Your turn.
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          Mar 14 2013: Ok. Let's take it easy.
          Heard about artificial speciation? Animal Husbandry? Reproductive isolation as in Dodd's experiment? These are equally applicable on Humans. You are presupposing the natural selection to be only active force in biological evolution. What about machine implants? A human being living with a pacemaker is a cyborg partially.
          You missed the exponential contraction of evolutionary changes I mentioned. It does not necessarily have to be biological even.
          In 50 years we can have human clones with genetically modified immunity, hugely enhanced sensory capabilities, living 150 years or longer on replaced vital organs 3d printed at will.
          Your definition of species may be rewritten by then.
          Will they be 'us'?

          Your turn.

          P.S. I am not even referring 'non-scientific' complications like believing people with a particular skin color as sub-human till some 50 years ago, or Jews as 'impure' aberrations till some 70 years ago. I shall place too little trust on this present 'we'.
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        Mar 14 2013: I never said natural selection to be the only factor. There are several. Including mutation, founder's effect, and artificial selection. Not to mention we are consciously directing our evolution as well as the evolution of other species.

        Apparently you think that machine parts play a part in speciation. They do not. Unless you want to redefine the word "speciation".

        Technology could accelerate biological evolution using genetic engineering, but unless these engineered humans are incapable of interbreeding, they will not be a new species.
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          Mar 15 2013: Come on Christopher, we know that we are discussing the 'we' here. It may not be wise to represent the species. A huge number of that species live in conditions you and I possibly don't appreciate. It's a humanity question I raised. Which 'we' are going to be benefited by extraterrestrial resources when half the humanity have no access to terrestrial resources?

          I find it the space missions funny when we have not enough schools on earth.
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      Mar 16 2013: Fascinating points of view!

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