TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

The human population is at the limit. We are killing children by making babies too fast.

The definition of "at the limit" is the situation where the population cannot grow as fast as the birth rate demands. This results in premature death, specifically childhood death.

To understand this, imagine a static environment where a stable quantity of sustenance arrives daily. In that environment if the population is at the limit of how many people that sustenance can keep alive, and the adults average 3 babies, then 1/3 of the children must die. If the adults average 4, then 1/2 of the children must die. Notice that the birth rate dictates the child mortality rate.

This concept does not change if we alter the environment or our techniques for extracting sustenance such that we are expanding the amount of sustenance. In other words we can be in the situation where we are expanding our capacity, but not as fast as the births are demanding, and thus some portion of the child mortality is caused by breeding too fast. This means we cannot use the total child mortality rate as an indicator of whether we are suffering this problem or not.

To prevent this a TwoFourEightPlus system is required. This means no more than 2 children, 4 grandchildren for you parents, 8 great grands for your grandparents, plus some are allowed to have more to make up for others that do not meet TwoFourEight (Note: do not count dead children in this calculation). This system has never existed, thus humans have never controlled their fertility.

Given that humans have existed for a long time, never controlled their fertility, and anything above an average of 2 children attempts to grow our numbers exponentially, we must assume that we are at the limit. Scientists do not assume this. They assume the opposite.

Note, before you supply some comment about how humans limit their fertility, make sure you comprehend the difference between something that lowers fertility and something that will ensure it is low enough such that births are not killing.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 21 2013: More thought.
    How are we at the limit of human ??? that births are killing children.
    There are areas where population is so dense and/or distribution is so convoluted that food is lacking that the weakest of society including children are starving and dying. This is an unacceptable situation.


    In spite of what the propaganda is.... the world is not overcrowded, there is enough food to sustain everyone... in fact some.... maybe too many have to much food and are overweight, maybe this is why scientists assume the opposite.
    I have no idea how you came to this conclusion unless you are addressing those unfortunate who are in places with limited food and distribution or are plagued by a hostile environment.
    And then how would you go into..... the Congo and say to the local natives "If you don't have so many children, they won't die... maybe so many wouldn't die"
    I guess it's logical just unclear especially after my research suggest mankind may peak in numbers soon and begin a downward spiral that if left unchecked could lead to extinction in less then 10,000 years.
    • Nov 22 2013: Yes, I agree there is enough food to go around., but we are not distributing it equally. This means that we have a choice of causality. 1) poor food distribution causes these starvation deaths, or 2) excess breeding causes these starvation deaths. If we choose #1 as the cause, then we look for solutions that correct that. If we choose that solution nothing stops the uncontrolled breeding from driving our numbers right up to the limit again. If we do #2, then we are no longer killing because we make babies too fast.

      Your second concept assumes that only the starving, and areas with high birth rates, are causing this problem. This is a bad assumption. Given that we have a global economy, there are no separate areas. In other words a human in the USA is consuming resources and that affects the resources that are available in the Congo. In short, everyone must know that we must limit the number of babies we create. So, yes, if the people of Congo create fewer babies the death rate of their children will drop, but also if the people in the USA create fewer the Congo's child mortality rate will drop. Note, that this discussion is not about what marketing campaigns will be best, so I have no intention of discussing what to say to whatever natives.

      I totally agree that the number of humans on the Earth will peak. We are on a finite planet so there is absolutely no doubt our numbers will peak. It is a question of whether they peak because we are limiting our fertility or whether the environment is limiting, slowing, or decreasing our numbers in spite of our fertility rates. Also notice that this topic does not mention a rising population. Many scientists have taken the fact that the birth rate has been dropping world wide and do a very poor extrapolation of that to the future and draw ridiculous conclusions from it, like extinction. See http://www.ted.com/conversations/10955/the_conventional_wisdom_of_dem.htm for why these extrapolations are bad science.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.