John Taves

Bellevue, WA, United States

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John Taves
Posted 9 months ago
Melinda Gates: Let's put birth control back on the agenda
Are you asking how we should collectively limit our fertility? Are you asking whether the Chinese penalties for having more than 1 child are the best way to do this? If that is your question, I do not know the answer. In a democracy, the political candidates and the people will discuss this via the normal democratic process, but that is impossible without the knowledge I am trying to convey. In other words, these questions are irrelevant right now. What is relevant, is the task of correcting the nearly universal ignorance on this topic.
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John Taves
Posted 9 months ago
The human population is at the limit. We are killing children by making babies too fast.
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.
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John Taves
Posted 9 months ago
The human population is at the limit. We are killing children by making babies too fast.
I would rather keep this conversation on the topic of whether births are indeed killing. My argument is that we have always averaged more than 2 and that means that humans have always been attempting to drive their numbers to infinity at an exponential rate. Something has to stop that and the obvious thing is premature death of children so that they do not grow to breeding age. I argue that there is no mechanism in nature like TwoFourEight that could have prevented our numbers from hitting the limit shortly after arriving in each environment around this planet. An interesting example is North America 500-150 years ago. Europeans arrived and introduced diseases that decimated the native population. One can conclude that shortly after that the natives were not at the limit. The Europeans then arrived and brought more efficient crops and methods of government that would have the effect of raising the limit. Notice that when Malthus published his famous essays, he used NA as an example of unrestrained population growth. It was doubling every 25 years. The use of fossil fuels as also dramatically increased the limits. But do we have any reason to believe that we increased them faster than our numbers were attempting to grow? We see clusters of malnutrition and starvation, with high child mortality rates, throughout the world. Generally the world now has one large economy. So it seems to me that the evidence of being at the limit world wide is clear. The proof is stated above, the evidence is the starvation. The burden of proof is the other way around. One must prove there is a mechanism that limits fertility such that our numbers did not hit the limit. In your research did you find anything that mentions this concept? Did you find any definitions for this? Did you find any hint that anyone has thought about this?
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John Taves
Posted 9 months ago
The human population is at the limit. We are killing children by making babies too fast.
I am concluding there is no point in responding to the "fascist" type of comments. They serve no purpose. In addition, I would rather steer this topic towards what we must know, instead of worrying about what we must do. I would rather not spend time discussing how to make the TwoFourEight thing work because right now almost nobody knows it. The reason I described it is to show a mechanism that is required for us to conclude that our fertility is not being limited to ensure we are not attempting to grow our numbers faster than they can be accommodated. In other words because that mechanism has never existed, we have to conclude that our numbers have generally always been at the limit.
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John Taves
Posted 9 months ago
Melinda Gates: Let's put birth control back on the agenda
I have not stated that we are on a path to overpopulation. We are already blatantly overpopulated. The definition of overpopulation uses the word "exceed", and that is only possible if the species consumes resources faster than they renew. The definition of carrying capacity uses the word "indefinite" and fossil fuels are not even close to being an indefinite resource. In short, we do not know how to keep 7 billion humans alive without destroying the resources we need to keep 7 billion alive. Notice that I am correctly interpreting the scientific definition of overpopulation, and that nobody else correctly interprets this. But the important concept is the meaning behind it. We are destroying the resources that to the best of our knowledge future generations will need to keep alive the number of humans we are creating for those future generations. Furthermore, there is a second problem. We are the limit now and have always been at the limit. You and all other population scientists are assuming that there must be massive famine and starvation in order to conclude we have hit the limit. This is a horrible assumption. The existence of starvation, that is not limited to just a few random incompetent humans, proves that this assumption is dead wrong. The conditions we see today are consistent with being at the limit, and also expanding that limit, but not expanding it fast enough. If we snap our fingers and distribute resources evenly, then temporarily our numbers will not be at the limit. At best this is just a temporary solution. The only solution is to control our fertility. Being at the limit means that births are killing. If we lower fertility in the USA, the world child mortality rate will drop. If we lower fertility in Africa, the world child mortality rate will drop. Births anywhere are squeezing existing humans off the face of the Earth. We must know this. I am not describing a solution. I am describing knowledge that we must all have.
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John Taves
Posted 9 months ago
Melinda Gates: Let's put birth control back on the agenda
All reproduction is indeed exponential. If we average too many babies, we are attempting to grow our numbers at an exponential rate. If we average too few, then our numbers will shrink at an exponential rate. Note, the correct use of the word "attempting". We are on a finite planet. The attempt almost always fails. Human population history is dominated by non-growth. Also, note that the replacement rate as defined by scientists is a circular definition. It does not factor out deaths that are caused by too high of a birth rate. For example, if we imagine a finite environment, and the population is at the limit, and if we average say 3 babies, then 1/3 children will die and the replacement rate as defined will be 3. If we average 4 babies, then 1/2 of the children will die and the replacement rate will be 4. The replacement rate depends on the birth rate! Scientists and population experts do not even consider that humans have always been and still are at the limit. This is a murderously bad assumption. Your point about fertility being shut off when malnutrition happens is just horrible: 1) Malnutrition is horrible. We should not allow near starvation to shut off our excess fertility! We should force condoms and sterility before we cause this mechanism to kick in! 2) You've assumed that somehow the well fed people will not continue to overbreed and continue to drive the numbers into the limit causing the starvation. 3) You have assumed that somehow this starvation will be uniform in time such that the starvation won't be lifted for a time allowing the pregnancy to happen. When the starvation returns, there will be more to feed. 4) You've assumed that somehow starvation happens, shutting off fertility, but somehow everyone afflicted by this magically walks that fine line between death and a functioning uterus and sexual activity. You go ahead and attempt that fine line. 5) You need to prove this mechanism works. It is deadly to assume it does.
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John Taves
Posted 9 months ago
Melinda Gates: Let's put birth control back on the agenda
It is not easy only because of the profound ignorance on this topic. Just look at the responses in this thread. Nobody makes the statement that uncontrolled fertility on a finite planet is murderously bad. This is not complicated. We are dealing with an exponential function. If we average slightly too many children, then our numbers attempt to grow to infinity at an exponential rate. That attempt is generally never successful. The environment stops that growth by killing children. If adults average too many babies, then children must die to limit that attempted growth. Seriously, how stupid can we be? We have to understand these concepts and teach them to everyone. Everyone must know that averaging too many children causes poverty and death. Notice Melinda Gates, an expert on population issues, does not know this. She makes it clear that it is OK for her and Bill to have 3 children because they can afford it. Let's run a simple example: Let's assume that anyone that will be unable to provide for their children will not get pregnant (notice what a ridiculous assumption this is). The other people, the wealthy ones, average say 2.5. Let's also limit the population to some fixed value, so that we can wrap our heads around the math easier (this is a good assumption because we are on a finite sized planet). Let's also assume that we are at that population level (another good assumption because we never controlled our fertility and that means our numbers were always attempting to rise at an exponential rate). In this situation, 1/5 of the children must grow up to be so poor that they will know that they cannot keep any offspring alive! That is dirt poor. That is just awful poverty. Excessive births cause poverty regardless of who makes the babies. The only ridiculous assumption in that example is the one about people knowing they will be unable to keep their offspring alive. Melinda Gates does not know this. Almost nobody on this thread knows this.
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John Taves
Posted 9 months ago
Melinda Gates: Let's put birth control back on the agenda
Heather, the notion that the entire world population can fit into Texas is an unbelievably bad concept. It takes open space to grow our food. It takes open space to eliminate our waste. How about waking up to the fact that we are not capable of keeping our current numbers alive without burning fossil fuels. Fossil fuels do not renew. Let's wake up to the fact that by averaging more than 2 children world wide, we are attempting to make the next generation larger than today's, and we are doing this while we do not know how to keep our current numbers alive without wrecking future generation's ability to keep those numbers alive! How about we use the logic and thinking that god gave us an not mindlessly throw out facts such as these.