Social Question

Mat74UK's avatar

Are we overdue a mass population decline?

Asked by Mat74UK (4649points) February 8th, 2011

With the worlds population approaching 7,000,000,000 are we due a mass human decline?
What do you think could do it?
World War?
Declining birth rates?


Do you have a more amusing theory?

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26 Answers

ragingloli's avatar

Alien Invasion.
But your options are acceptable, too.

SmashTheState's avatar

We are already on the catastrophe curve to the Singularity, the point where the curve of technological advance goes vertical and we become gods capable of defining what “humanity” means. The countdown began the instant HUGO was completed.

Julian Jaynes believed that consciousness is only about 4000 years old, and that it arose as a direct result of the agrarian revolution. Suddenly you had large, permanent settlements which required specialization by occupation, which meant you could no longer rely on the communal generalization of the hunter/gatherers. We had a revolution of the mind, and invented the “I.”

Today, our cities are virulently dysfunctional. We have rapidly rising levels of depression, bipolar disorder, autism, and sociopathy. Consciousness is no longer sufficient for dealing with the level of complexity our society has reached. The individualist story-cycle of the Hero is ending, and when we hit the Singularity, we will invent an entirely new series of narratives on which to base all understanding. At this point, humanity as we understand it is over forever.

More than half of all the animal biomass on Earth is in the form of ants. Clearly, this planet could support orders of magnitude more humans. A population of 70 billion or 700 billion is easily attainable — provided we were willing to live sensibly and logically in arcologies. Unfortunately, human consciousness is clearly not yet ready for this. We need a revolution of the mind to clear away what we recognize as humanity and replace it with something better suited for a technological culture (rather than a bronze age tribe of violent primates, as we are evolved to be now).

Whatever emerges from the other end of the Singularity, it will not be anything we would currently recognize as human. That means within our lifetimes, humanity will perish.

JLeslie's avatar

HIV is doing its part in some areas of the world. I think we can call that a plague of sorts. And, flu and flu related illness secondary to flu kills something like 30,000 a year. Every so often a natural disaster comes rough. Wasn’t the tsunami a few years back over a 100,000 lives lost? And that horrible quake in Pakistan took a toll also. Not to mention there are wars going on. Parts of Africa they are killing each other. In Iraq many many thousands of Iraqis died, I have heard a number close to 100,000 civilians, which makes me sick.. But, I guess these are only dents in population in the scheme of things. I think there is room for many more on this planet if we get smarter about food, energy, and treating the plant as a living and breathing entity.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

I’m glad this is Social – - – > > ;-)
They are going to call off the “Law of Gravity” and we’re going to float away.

coffeenut's avatar

We are overdue….And um….Zombie Plague should do it.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I figure a disease that wipes out monoculture crops will cause starvation.

That and the ‘Cat Flu’ that will jump to humans in 2017 and spread faster than both swine or bird flus.

JLeslie's avatar

@worriedguy Have you heard about that massive storage unit somewhere in some very cold country that houses seeds for the crops around the world in case there is some sort of massive wipe out of our crops?

blueiiznh's avatar

Yes we are due. The Bird thing about a month ago was the start.
2012 is coming.

josie's avatar

Obesity, self pity, and cloth diapers. These things will destroy humanity. I don’t know how, but they will.

Baddreamer27's avatar

I think we are way overdue! 2012 will bring something, whether it’s a war among us or some other cosmic event I can’t say, but our planet can only handle so many humans. Besides not enough people are taking care of the Earth.

zenvelo's avatar

famine in the next 50 years because of climate change will lead to nuclear war started by India or Pakistan.

LuckyGuy's avatar

@JLeslie Yes I have. But that would not be able to save us if there was a sudden crop kill of all the wheat in the world for example.

JLeslie's avatar

@worriedguy So you think all wheat being destroyed would end the human population? Or, just significantly damage the numbers? I never thought about this before. Not about a speciic blight that would destroy a particular crop.

CaptainHarley's avatar

Theories about a human die-off are rife:

There are those who believe that “The New World Order” must begin with a massive die-off of humans, that it will be due to a world-wide depression initiated by the Illumanti among us using financial manipulation to cause widespread famine, and that the 3 or 4 million remaining humans will become a “slave race” to serve the Illumanti.

Others believe that we will simply run out of fresh water.

lemming's avatar

I’m currently reading billions and billions by Carl Sagan, and I used to be worried about over-population too, but according to his figures, we in the developed world are no longer increasing in population by any great length, and the more well off and educated the population is, the less it grows; we have an average of two children per household. It’s the poorer countries that have a exponential population growth. So there lies your answer, educate and raise the world up to our standards. Now all we have to do is agree that everyone recyles, start riding our bikes everywere and start wearing unfashionable clothes.

Summum's avatar

@SmashTheState Great answer lurve.

A tremendous change is coming to this world and it is coming in most of our lifetimes. It is inevitable and will occur soon. I understand how many years this has been said and how many times someone has placed a date on it but it will happen and when it does all will experience it. Some call it an end of the world scenario but the world will not come to an end. As was written “Two will be in the field one will be left and one will be taken.”

faye's avatar

@Summum so who is left? How is it decided? And I think fake diapers, not cloth will be the end of us @josie!

Summum's avatar

@faye LOL

That is not up to me thank goodness but I would say those who are prepared and by the way the ones left are the ones that will have regrets. Those taken are prepared and will return.

ratboy's avatar

I’m hoping for an eruption of the Yellowstone supervolcano, though a significant nuclear conflict would also be nice.

lemming's avatar

Of course it will be someone else…

starsofeight's avatar

Here is a link to an interesting video. In it, you will see interstellar starships parked in deep space, matching our orbit in order to blend in with the stars. It is easy to see they are not stars. What are they waiting for, 2012?

CaptainHarley's avatar


[ Cue theme from Twilight Zone ]

filmfann's avatar

That’s why we have the new Toyota.

Zaku's avatar


Any one or combination of:

* Destroying natural ecosystems leads to extinctions of non-human species which leads to the deterioration of our food crops
* Genetically modified food/drugs etc. turns into something that kills lots of people one way or another
* Lack of good water in the third world leads to more and more unrest, terrorism, war, etc., leading to:
* Human violence with nuclear or biological weapons
* Research into synthetic germs creating a pandemic
* Industrial farming practices leading to creation and contamination of a pandemic
* Climate change wiping out species, crops, messing with cities

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