Video: The Overpopulation Myth

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Post image for Video: The Overpopulation Myth

Many in the world advocate things like abortion, contraception, and sterilization (all immoral) on the basis of saving the planet. They say we are running out of food and space. We are becoming overpopulated. But this isn’t really true.

And while most authorities have now backed off of wild, incorrect projections of world famine and overpopulation, it is still a myth widely believed by many people. It’s important to set the record straight – especially when many use these false foundations to support abortion, contraception, and sterilization.

The truth, and good news, is that our planet has plenty of space and resources for many, many more people. And the exponential population explosion once predicted has not come to pass.  Even the United Nations now calculates that the world population will top out at 9-11 billion at current rates anyway. We have plenty of room and food for so many miraculous human beings. The challenge is working together to take care of each other.

Issues of hunger, for example, are not there because we’ve hit a hard limit on the planet’s capacity to produce food. Such issues more often have to do with political corruption and tyranny in a particular region.

I’m not trying to over-simplify the issues at hand. There are challenges with “overpopulation” in certain restricted regions. But the point is that they can be remedied by improving trade, education, food, and technology in these communities instead of by immorally limiting or destroying population.

Additionally, increases in population also increase the importance of being good stewards of our environment as it requires more efficient and less wasteful use of our resources. But we can do that and are already doing that. There is no need for abortion, contraception, or sterilization to solve any world overpopulation problem. God has given us a planet to handle it all and to do it morally. And I know we are up for the exciting challenges ahead.

Here’s an interesting video on some history of the world overpopulation myth. More info on their website here.

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Peter July 29, 2009 at 10:05 am

Superb. The number of times I hear facts casually popped out about our crushing population boom destroying the planet makes my eyes roll.

That site presents the facts in a clear manner, very important message to get out..as there are some ‘bizzare’ theories being bandied about based on the pillar of over-population.

Take this academic for example : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mims-Pianka_controversy

He’s ‘almost’ hoping most of us die off so the planet can be saved.

Cassandra Troy July 30, 2009 at 6:10 am

I’m very greatful to you for giving us something to work with here. It has become another truism in people’s minds, like “The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer”, which is also manifestly untrue. I have heard one argument brought on by a New Ager, to the effect that there is a certain mineral humans need, and this mineral happens to run out in umpteen years, which just goes to show that the planet cannot sustain us any longer.
It’s also very sad that the new US science czar has written a book with said Ehrlich in the 70s calling for these anti human policies you mention. This man is now Obama’s science advisor!
We must not forget that the underlying motive these ideas are being pushed is political. It is based on a philosophical world view that is patently a lie. But Relativism has the convenient effect of rendering those “in power” morally and mentally defenseless. Hence the current crisis.

Andreas July 30, 2009 at 10:24 am

I agree, the overpopulation myth of the 1900s is no longer valid.

From a pure argument of space the video is right.

But what about issues like
– access to drinkable water
– access to food
– pollution (e.g 1.3 billion Chinese driving cars in the future?)
– access to work, a living
– Earth supporting humanity for a long time

There are so many problems connected with population. And most solutions – especially in the 3rd World – seem to be “feed them and care for their health”. And although I totally agree with that, it will not solve any of the problems if it isn’t balanced with lowering the birth rate. Otherwise you’ll just have another generation that can not care for itself.

And I am not talking about abortion or sterilization. I think there needs to be a change in the thought that “children are my security for old age” where this is no longer true. Maybe have 2 instead of 6 children.

Yes, there might be enough food for everyone if we distribute it well, but the fight for resources will not end because of this.

If you claim that “relativism” is cruel, I call the belief that technology, education and trade will solve the crisis naive. It will alleviate it though, no doubt.

But it is a law of nature that populations grow until they exceed their means. As long as their is food, populations will continue growing. And then all it takes is a bad year, a war, a disruption of trade ways to topple it all.

A nice article:
http://www.ecofuture.org/pop/rpts/mccluney_maxpop.html

Andreas July 30, 2009 at 10:30 am

And just to make my point clear:

Yes, by all means help poor people and try and better their situation. Sterilization and abortion is not the right solution to this.

But unfettered population growth can not be the solution either. If humanity is to be around 100 or 1000 years from now we can not consume resources and pollute the planet as we do now.

And of course overpopulation isn’t the only factor in today’s problems: greed, politics, religious strife… these things contribute to our inability to do what’s right.

Andreas

Cassandra Troy July 30, 2009 at 11:09 am

Also related: http://metaphysicalperegrine.blogspot.com/2009/07/malthus-or-god.html

“these things contribute to our inability to do what’s right”

and what is that, precisely?

Rafael A. Martinez July 31, 2009 at 11:45 am

You said, “Additionally, increases in population also increase the importance of being good stewards of our environment as it requires more efficient and less wasteful use of our resources.”

The importance is increased true, but humanity is still not doing its part to take care of the environment. We are using to much of our resources. That is evident everywhere. I agrees with what Andreas is saying. Pollution and access are major problems. They are problems because the world has too many people and we cannot support them.

Our governments have failed. Our aid has failed. Humanity is failing.

I agree that we have to do what is morally right in this situation. But, we have to upgrade our morals and re-evaluate them every once in a while. What worked in the past may not work for us.

Cassandra Troy August 1, 2009 at 4:26 am

True believers, you are being had. It is now slowly transpiring that this entire catastrophy mongering industry that has been set up around the UN serves one purpose only: the shift of power and capital from ‘haves’ to ‘have nots’. We have seen that postmodern dialectic played out in all, all walks of life, from the deconstructions of the family to now, on a global scale, through actual taxation. The global redistributive cabal also has the added effect of controling thought (hear the parrot circuit and the PC morality brigade yapping), and providing a pseudo religion to play the ‘consciousness’ card: it it not uncommon to hear grown men repeat what used to be refered to as ‘old wives tales’. Yak! I’m through with this colossal scam.

Cassandra Troy August 1, 2009 at 4:27 am
Benjamin Ross August 6, 2009 at 9:08 pm

The problem with the theory expressed in the post is that it assumes incorrectly that world population is evenly dispersed. In country such as the United States where we have a large population, but spread out over vast territory with still much open space, overpopulation is not currently a serious threat, and won’t be for a very, very long time. However, when you look at China and India (where well over a third of the world’s population resides), these countries are both dangerously close to their respective carrying capacities. China, due to its family planning policy, will likely see a steadying of its population before it reaches the breaking point. India, on the other hand, still has dangerously high birth rates which could have catastrophic results if not put into check.

As nations’ economies develop, their birthrates naturally slow down as children become a financial burden rather than an asset. This is why natural population growth has leveled out in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, and Japan, and hence as the author correctly points out, overpopulation is not a serious threat. China, while developing rapidly, is still far from this point, India is even further, and Sub-Saharan Africa is well behind both China and India (yet still does not have the critical mass of population that exists in the former countries). To say overpopulation is not a problem in certain parts of the world is accurate, but to insist that no place on earth suffers or will soon suffer the effects of overpopulation is a gross oversimplification of the facts.

John Lewis August 26, 2009 at 9:00 pm

You can weigh in on a poll at Is Overpopulation a Myth? Right now the poll and site looks biased towards overpopulation being a reality.

Catholic debating pro-life April 27, 2010 at 9:18 pm

That site should be ashamed with itself. What a ridiculous bias.

Catholic debating pro-life April 27, 2010 at 9:16 pm

Yeah maybe I’m wrong but I never heard that Malthus wanted to kill off the have-nots. I thought he just reccommended having less children.

ProfBob July 7, 2010 at 2:31 am

I find in reading those sites that say that population problems are a myth that their evidence is very sparse and inconclusive. Recently I read Book 1 of the free e-book series “In Search of Utopia” (http://andgulliverreturns.info), it blasts their lack of evidence relative to their calling overpopulation a myth. The book, actually the last half of the book, takes on the skeptics in global warming, overpopulation, lack of fresh water, lack of food, and other areas where people deny the evidence. I strongly suggest that anyone wanting to see the whole picture read the book, at least the last half.

Cassandra Troy July 7, 2010 at 6:46 am

@ProfBob It is a fact that a higher population concentration creates economic wealth. The wealthier the people, the better they can effort taking care of the environment. The environmentalist agenda is driven by the leftist anti capitalism, anti production and anti market brigades. But the best argument yet is of a philosophical nature. When humans no longer think of themselves as a value, but as an evil, this is wrecking havoc on our minds and ultimately on our culture. It is nihilist. It is spiritual suicide. Therefore the anti human agenda is not just politically beyond evil, it is existentially so.

ProfBob July 7, 2010 at 7:13 am

Cassandra,
There are more rich people in the world today and there are more poor people. The riches come when there are more people with money who can buy the products that the industrialists produce. But the billion people living on less than two dollars a day don’t have access to this. Perhaps if we could educate to a high-level all the people of the world what you’re saying might be true. The problem is that education in poorer areas it’s becoming more and more reduced.
Your other ideas based on a God ethical assumption are obviously unprovable and only opinion. If you want to explore the unprovable basic assumptions of ethics, both yours and mine, I suggest reading Book 4 of the series I mentioned above. It will not change your ethical assumptions but it may give you a deeper understanding of how people across the world choose their values. K.

Cassandra Troy July 7, 2010 at 8:37 am

Sir, you are a political drone and not worthy of more of my time. Goodbye.

Catholic pro-lifer July 8, 2010 at 3:24 pm

Or you could debate him.

Just an idea.

How rude.

ProfBob July 7, 2010 at 8:43 am

As a professor of philosophy it has always been my goal to make people think deeply about what they think they believe. Some people want to be more intellectually in control of their lives, others merely want to be content in their unthought out opinions.

KiD August 5, 2010 at 10:31 am

Cant we say the places are just congested and not really overpopulated? Its just that people tend to gravitate towards the cities where all the jobs are. or That there are alot of food but people just cant buy them because they are poor. This dosnt mean that were depleting the food supply of the world its just its expensive. And its not expensive because there’s little of it, its expensive because its good for business.

ProfBob August 5, 2010 at 11:16 am

Some places are congested, like Hong Kong and Singapore, but they are well managed and rich so they can import their food. But with a billion people going hungry daily, it is not a matter of congestion. Many are in villages that are not congested, but the ground cannot be made fertile enough and the water needed is unavailable. The US has enough food and water. Many Asian and African countries do not.

Morose November 17, 2010 at 8:29 pm

Come down to earth sometimes. This blog is one of the most retarded and naive ones about overpopulation

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