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StarLab
2004-Nov-30, 05:39 AM
Hey, guys, I know it's fun to be pessimistic, but here's the chance to share your true opinion on the matter:
Is the human race liable to die out, either by nature or self-termination, or do you think it's our fate or our destiny to go out among the stars...



Please be serious...this is the string to discuss your true feelings on this serious issue -_-

Matthew
2004-Nov-30, 08:13 AM
This is an interesting question. It all depends on our population spread, if we all stay on Earth for too long we will die out. Either from war, a disease or huge scientific experiment stuff up. As our technology advances we need to spread out of the solar system, for then a inter-planetary war (which may happen if planets begin to rival each other) will not kill us. Once we've passed the solar system boarder we are fairly safe from extinction for a few hundred million years.

kashi
2004-Nov-30, 09:39 AM
Of course we will eventually die, as either the "big crunch" or "infinite expansion" cosmological scenarios will result in an uninhabitable universe.

In the short-medium term (i.e. next 100-1000 years), I'd say there would be numerous ways in which the majority of the human race could die out, but I don't think all of us could become extinct unless a nearby star went supernova. Even the detonation of all stockpiled nuclear weapons would still allow a small percentage of humanity to survive. We've survived ice ages before, and we would do it again.

Assuming we can overcome "Earthly problems", the next big challenge is the end of our sun's lifespan. If we can avoid that by moving elsewhere, then I'd say that it would be pretty unlikely for us to become extinct by anything other than the destruction of the universe (or our part of it).

Dave Mitsky
2004-Nov-30, 01:06 PM
These sites discuss some of the charming events that could result in humanity going the way of the dodo.

http://www.xs4all.nl/~mke/exitmundi.htm

http://www.armageddononline.org/life_extreme.php

http://terramortis.com/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/628515.stm

http://humanknowledge.net/SocialScience/Fu...tastrophes.html (http://humanknowledge.net/SocialScience/Futurology/Catastrophes.html)

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Dave Mitsky

antoniseb
2004-Nov-30, 01:43 PM
Originally posted by StarLab@Nov 30 2004, 05:39 AM
do you think it's our fate or our destiny to go out among the stars.
I assume the question is 'will we die out before we get interstellar colonization?', since obviously we'll die out before the universe can no longer support chemical activity.

My answer to that is that there will be many perilous choices ahead, some of the surviving choices for which may be counter to the nature of large groups. Our chances of making it long enough to have people get to other stars will me be much greater if we colectively believe that it is uncertain, than if we believe it is our destiny.

KillRide
2004-Nov-30, 01:52 PM
Heh, I posted about this site a few weeks ago. They update daily and added a lotta new stuff since then... cool.

Since I'm here, does anyone know why UT hasnt been updated for a few days?

Ola D.
2004-Nov-30, 02:37 PM
interesting question! But, there are many choices to consider here.
Well, yes i think that humans will die out as many other species did because life proves that there's an end for every beginning.

Are we going to be replaced? I don't think so. I'm actually not willing to get further into this point 'cause it'll turn into a religious debate. ;)
Probably wars, pollution and diseases wouldn't be the factors to lead to our extinction. I would suggest enviromental crises that we'd have no control on.

wstevenbrown
2004-Nov-30, 03:06 PM
Not before the death of the universe. As we spread to wider eco-niches (other planets, other stars), we will evolve (speciate?), but there will be no spacetime locus you could point to and say "The human race died here."
The intriguing thing is that (perhaps for the first time) the evolution will be self-directed. :rolleyes: Regards, S

GOURDHEAD
2004-Nov-30, 08:00 PM
I see few, if any, of you have accepted my urging for us to become capable to engineer and maintain to our liking the configuration of the universe. Tsk! Tsk!

John L
2004-Nov-30, 08:44 PM
I hope we do die out. We're not worthy! :P

antoniseb
2004-Nov-30, 08:45 PM
Originally posted by GOURDHEAD@Nov 30 2004, 08:00 PM
I see few, if any, of you have accepted my urging for us to become capable to engineer and maintain to our liking the configuration of the universe.
This forum is such a narrow vehicle for expressing ourselves, that I haven't been able to see you doing it either.

StarLab
2004-Nov-30, 09:12 PM
On Dave's post with all the links, I found the following two paragraphs from the last link very intriguing:


Robot Aggression. Some humans fear that the combination of robotics and artificial intelligence will in effect create a new dominant species that will not tolerate human control or even resource competition. These fears are misplaced. Artificial intelligence will be developed gradually by about 2200, and will not evolve runaway super-intelligence. Even when AI is integrated with artifactual life by the early 2200s, the time and energy constraints on artifactual persons will render them no more capable of global domination than any particular variety of humans (i.e. natural persons). Similarly, humanity's first Von Neumann probes will be incapable of overwhelming Earth's defenses even if they tried. To be truly dangerous, VN probes would have to be of a species with both true intelligence and a significant military advantage over humanity. Such a species would be unlikely to engage in alien aggression.

Nanoplague. Self-replicating nanotechnology could in theory become a cancer to the Earth's biosphere, replacing all ribonucleic life with nanotech life. The primary limit on the expansion of such nanotech life would, as for all life, be the availability of usable energy and material. Since any organic material would presumably be usable, the primary limit on how nanocancer could consume organic life would be the availability of usable energy. Fossil fuels are not sufficiently omnipresent, and fusion is not sufficiently portable, so nanocancer would, like ribonucleic microorganisms, have to feed on sunlight or organic tissues. Ribonucleic photosynthesis captures a maximum of about 10% of incident solar energy, while nanocancer should be able to capture at least 50%. The only way to stop nanocancer would be to cut off its access to energy and material or interfere with its mechanisms for using them.

Janice
2004-Dec-01, 03:01 AM
Every species, every thing, will die out eventually but it's not likely to happen to us soon so I've never really worried about it!... UNTIL NOW!!! :blink:

ChromeStar
2004-Dec-01, 12:49 PM
reply to the original question

By no means is this question stupid or something to be laughted at!;)

there is a good possibliltiy for man to die out if we don't take care of our world

with all the pollution and green house gases being spewed out all day annd night, the dustruction of natural habitat and the over use of resources. these are just some of the possiblities.

theres also the possiblity of a Huge War not even a world war, but a normal 2 or 3 country dispute, so long as there are weapons like nuclear bombs, wars could effect all of the world.

also there natural threats not some much from earth itself, but rather from space solar flares or asteriods could take a world to the cleaners. :unsure:

there is a scale that measures the technological progress of a civilisation type I, II, III & IV. The higher the type the more advanced the civilisation and we are't even a type I yet, but the more advanced we get the higher the chance of survival!
B)

Ola D.
2004-Dec-01, 08:58 PM
Another interesting fact to be regarded here is that does civilisation and the fast growth of technology escalate our death rate, and thus extinction, or is contributing positively by maintaining our race?

astromark
2004-Dec-01, 09:52 PM
:unsure: By the look of the responces here we could servive for millions of years yet. It would be nice if we could get the kill and disroy mentality out of our thinking. But I hasten to add. That most of our tecknoledgy has evolved becouse of our want to blow the bejusus out of something or some one. or defend our selves from each other.
:blink: The rather disterbing idea that computers have been doubling in there copacity to think every two years. Is worth another look. If they are given the abilaty to reproduce them selves, disigne there own improvments. 'Hughston we have a problem'. :(
:rolleyes: Could we enginear the universe to ensure our servival, Yes. One day we will, but only if we can avoid self inialation, Major objects impacting on earth.
I do beleive we will servive and venture into the near galaxy to seek out a culture of habatation to servive. Lets hope we dont become our own enemy, or the aleins of our own destruction. live long and prosper.

John L
2004-Dec-01, 10:34 PM
We aren't using up any resources. We put them to one use, but they don't leave the Earth. We'll just have to start recycling after a while. Thermal depolymerization will take our trash and waste and turn it back into raw metals, minerals, and oil. I forsee trash dump mining to be a growth business in about 50 years.

wstevenbrown
2004-Dec-01, 11:33 PM
I could do without destruction, but I'm afraid that death is too good a friend to desert. Sounds a bit harsh? Let nobody die, and let each couple have two children. In only a few thousand years, we would subsume the entire mass of the visible universe. I suspect the standard of living would suffer. ;) S

Bobunf
2004-Dec-04, 11:23 PM
I don’t think computers have been doubling in their thinking capacity every two years. I first used a computer about 42 years ago. The one sitting on my desk has about one million times the storage capacity, and its execution time is about one million times faster (more or less). 2^21 is about two million, so it’s close.

But thinking? The computer I used 42 years ago did not think at all. It only did exactly what you told it to do, no matter how stupid. Not only did you have to tell it exactly what, but exactly how, and you had to make precise arrangements for it to get whatever data you wanted it to have.

A lot of people have put a lot of instructions in the computer I have on my desk now, so it’s easier to tell it what and how to do things. But it still doesn’t do anything at all that someone hasn’t told it what and how to do in unbelievably excoriating and precise detail.

The thing still doesn’t think at all. I would say progress in this department has been a lot slower than in storage and speed. When you start from zero, doubling doesn’t do much good.

folkhemmet
2004-Dec-05, 12:07 AM
There are a lot of ideas on the drawing board for extending what human beings can do in outer space. These ideas will remain on drawing boards and in the minds of their creators and fans of space (i.e. those participating in this forum) until decisions are made at the highest levels of power to implement them. Unfortunately, those in the highest levels of power are more interested in maintaining the welfare state for the rich and building more weapons systems including more weapons of mass destruction. This is quite disturbing because
unless we develop a permanent presence off earth the human race will become extinct just as species confined to a single island are likely to go extinct much sooner than species distributed on many islands. Perhaps this is a strong justification for removing those at the highest level of power to create a true democracy-- and a spacefaring democracy at that.

The Star Trek civilization realized that unless the current (21st century) global socioeconomic system changes from one of relentless competition and unsustainable consumption to one of cooperation and conservation, then humanity's prospects would be grim. The connection seems instructive: an advanced spacefaring civilization is likely to have more of our strengths and less of our weaknesses.

B)

Matthew
2004-Dec-05, 12:15 AM
Yes. But we must remember we have only been a spacefaring race for 50 years. In 20 years we will be back on the Moon to set up a permanent base there. Chances are we will not destroy ourselves by then.

Bobunf
2004-Dec-10, 04:32 PM
"death is too good a friend to desert. Sounds a bit harsh? Let nobody die, and let each couple have two children. In only a few thousand years, we would subsume the entire mass of the visible universe. I suspect the standard of living would suffer."

I suspect there's something wrong with your demographics.

If taxes were to outlive death as a certainly of existence, the effect on population size is likely to be considerable less than one might imagine. Fertility is unlikely to rise; our experience is that increases in expectation of life are accompanied by a fall in fertility. I think I could site every country in the world over the 20th century as examples of a fall in fertility with increases in life expectancy.

Even if we assume that fertility didn’t fall from the current average of about 1.6 existing in industrialized countries today, and if we assume a starting population with half of the females in or younger than the reproductive range, after 20 generations the population would have increased only by a factor of about 3, even assuming nobody at all died.

We could make our calculation only a little more sophisticated, and assume a constant risk of death in any given year of one in ten thousand; equivalent to an expectation of life at birth of about seven thousand years. With these assumptions, the population would only double in 20 generations.

If the average end of the reproductive period expanded to about age 50, then 20 generations would be a thousand years, suggesting a human population of about 15 billion in 3100 AD. A long way from the entire mass of the universe.

As long as the fertility rate is equal to or less than 2, and there is any probability of death in females before the reproductive period is completed, the species population will eventually reach zero. It's a converging series. In the case of the assumptions listed above, that would be in ten thousand years.

Rather weirdly, even if (almost) nobody dies, we could still die out.

Bob

TwAgIssmuDe
2004-Dec-10, 05:16 PM
I don't think the term "die out" is complitely true. You do remember the course of evolution, we may be evolving into some new species that can better cope with what the future brings.
Just like our ancestoors did.
So we are not dying out, but merely evolving. :D

Ola D.
2004-Dec-10, 05:23 PM
I once read an article saying that the fertility rate showed a decrease in the past decade. I don't remember any statistical numbers, but i remember that the decrease was significant. It said that this effect was as a result of the excessive use of pesticides in agriculture.

So that would be considered as a contribution leading to extinct :unsure:

ChromeStar
2004-Dec-10, 06:14 PM
I'm back been away, so i haven't hada a chance till now to read the latest replies

so here are my thoughts

with regard to smart computers i believe that if people just brush the idea off as in Bobunf's case they could become a hazard - it would be foolish to ignore the the fact that computer and robotic technologies are advancing a rapid rate. By 2008 if i'm correct, japan's majority will posess a robot in one for or anotherand not little toy form, but rather for baby sitting of the elderly and freforming daily house hold chores.

with regard to technology advancing only for destructive and defensive perposes only - it's true, but we decide weather to use it for those perposes or not besides waring is'nt the only reason to advance what about exploring and experiencing the universe

Recycling resources?

this will happen, it will have to, but it is possible that the population may require more resouces then we can spare and will have to be obtained off world. future recycling methods my also include a new technology called skins, they are fine filters that group only a "specified" molecule of substance

fertility and population

populations go up and down in a cycle or vanish, it is a natural way to maintain the right balance so i don't think, unless a catastrophe like the sun swallowing the earth happens, the population will ever die out - fertility is mearly one of the means of nature to keep balance.

EVOLUTION

there have been some studies that have found that people a few generations back where shorter or fatter or had brown hair rather then built like todays humans a clear sign of evolution, as enviroments change "we change".

ChromeStar
2004-Dec-10, 06:16 PM
I'm back been away, so i haven't had a chance till now to read the latest replies

so here are my thoughts

SMART COMPUTERS

with regard to smart computers i believe that if people just brush the idea off as in Bobunf's case they could become a hazard - it would be foolish to ignore the the fact that computer and robotic technologies are advancing a rapid rate. By 2008 if i'm correct, japan's majority will posess a robot in one form or another and not little toy form, but rather for baby sitting of the elderly and freforming daily house hold chores.

ADVANCES IN TECHNOLOGY

with regard to technology advancing only for destructive and defensive perposes only - it's true, but we decide weather to use it for those perposes or not besides waring is'nt the only reason to advance what about exploring and experiencing the universe

RECYCLING RESOURCES?

this will happen, it will have to, but it is possible that the population may require more resouces then we can spare and will have to be obtained off world. future recycling methods my also include a new technology called skins, they are fine filters that group only a "specified" molecule of substance

FERTILITY AND POPULATION

populations go up and down in a cycle or vanish, it is a natural way to maintain the right balance so i don't think, unless a catastrophe like the sun swallowing the earth happens, the population will ever die out - fertility is mearly one of the means of nature to keep balance.

EVOLUTION

there have been some studies that have found that people a few generations back where shorter or fatter or had brown hair rather then built like todays humans a clear sign of evolution, as enviroments change "we change".

Bobunf
2004-Dec-10, 06:50 PM
"I once read an article saying that the fertility rate showed a decrease in the past decade."

OK


"It said that this effect was as a result of the excessive use of pesticides in agriculture."

What nonsense

Bobunf
2004-Dec-10, 06:52 PM
For the ten most populous countries in the world, consisting of about two-thirds of the population of the world, there have been very significant declines in total fertility for 80% of decade by dec-ade comparisons. All of the declines in fertility are amazingly large:

U.S. Bureau of the Census, International Data Base Table 028. Total Fertility Rates per woman

Year......... China....... India....... US.......Indonesia........Brazil.....Pakistan
1950.........n/a...........n/a.............n/a...........n/a............ 5.93...........n/a
1960.........n/a...........n/a.............n/a...........n/a............ 6.06...........n/a
1970.........n/a...........n/a........... 2.48...........n/a............5.33...........n/a
1980.........n/a........... 4.70......... 1.84..........4.37......... 4.09...........n/a
1990.........2.18..........3.80..........2.08..... .... 3.02..........2.56..........6.23
2000.........1.72......... 3.11..........2.06......... 2.61..........2.13..........4.56

Year........Russia.....Bangledesh...Nigeria......J apan
1950.........n/a........... n/a............n/a...........3.66
1960........ n/a........... n/a............7.20..........2.02
1970.........n/a............n/a...........7.20..........2.09
1980.........n/a............n/a...........7.04..........1.75
1990.........1.96..........n/a...........6.45..........1.52
2000.........1.25..........3.23..........5.66..... .....1.36

All of the developed countries have total fertility rates below replacement except for Israel and Turkey; most are far below replacement. The fertility rates have declined in 80% of the decade to decade comparisons. At current total fertility rates twelve developed countries will face a halving of the workforce within 50 years unless saved by net migration: Japan, Russia, Latvia, Estonia, Singapore, Belarus, Hungary, Spain, Lithuania, Italy, Ukraine and Greece. At current fertility rates, the populations of these twelve countries will be extinct in from 20 to 30 generations. After that, no more Balts, no more Japanese, Russians, Hungarians, Spaniards, Italians, Ukrainians or Greeks. Singapore will be deserted, except for newcomers.

My own hypothesis is that the reason for these dramatic declines in fertility is that when women have a great range of choices about fertility and many other aspects of life; they will, on balance, have fewer children than is necessary to continue the species.

Wherever in the world women have those choices, total fertility is below replacement with the one exception of Israel. This is a huge change in the human condition, which will have increas-ingly profound effects as its influence spreads further and more deeply throughout the world.

Nothing whatever to do with pesticides, but the choices being made by the 18% of the population that is female and between the ages of 15 and 40. The behavior of women 40 years of age and over, men, and children has virtually no effect.

Guys get no vote in the matter of the survival of the species.

Bob

Ola D.
2004-Dec-10, 07:12 PM
Originally posted by Bobunf@Dec 10 2004, 06:50 PM
"It said that this effect was as a result of the excessive use of pesticides in agriculture."

What nonsense
Hey Bob,

Here's an article from the BBC News concerning this fact:
Effect of pesticides on Fertility (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/413118.stm)

Bobunf
2004-Dec-10, 07:34 PM
"Men who are exposed to pesticides as a result of their jobs may find it harder to father children, according to researchers."

There are three problems with this BBC report as related to effects on the fertility of the human species:

1. Is the result reported accurately? The BBC's approach to news does not encourage confi-dence. Witness genetically modified food, depleted uranium, and a host of other trendy scares.

2. Even if this result is accurately reported, does it represent an effect which is actuated in real life? If a guy's fertility is reduced to the point where he is only able to father three children per week, instead of the prior seven, how will that impact the fertility of his female partners? Will they, as a consequence, have only two children, rather than three, during the twenty-five years they are reproductively capable? One instead of four?

The BBC is mute on this subject, which is sort of important.

3. Even if the result is reported accurately, and even if the effect is to reduce the fertility not only of the affected male, but, more importantly, the fertility of his female parters, so what? How many males in the world "are exposed to pesticides as a result of their jobs?" What percent is this of our species? What effect, if any, does it have on the only thing that matters: female fertility.

I suspect the answer to the last question is zero.

Also, maybe we should take to heart BBC Health Correspondent's statement, quoted in this 1999 article, that "the survey was too small to allow definite conclusions to be made."

Quite. They were dealing with seven individuals.

Again, what nonsense. Not "fact," at least as reported in this study, but speculation.

Ola D.
2004-Dec-10, 08:11 PM
Hi Bob,
I actually don't wish to suspect the BBC reporting accuracy in this thread.
Whether this is a fact or speculation, I believe it's worth to be considered to constrict the use of pesticides on the long run.

Moreover, this is not the only study supporting the fact that fertility is decreasing. What I wanted to conclude that male/female fertility is decreasing because of our negative influence on the environment, like polution, radiation from nuclear activity.. etc.

trevorsproston
2004-Dec-10, 09:11 PM
There are those who would assert that the fact of existence implies the right to exist. Perhaps it does. However that may be, from the point of view of evolution, we are not a successful species - the most successful mammals are the rodents, for there are many vibrant varieties. There's only one Homo - population notwithstanding, we are a withered branch on the bush of life, much the same as the horse.

Our brains have muddied the waters rather. Instead of tramping our way unconsciously to extinction [which is the fashion], our minds feel unease, if not fear, at the dying of the light, and we ring ourselves about with ingenious defences to stave off our own demise, such as religions. Hope in the salvation of Space Travel is just one more of these defences, which some turn into a belief system, or indeed religion. One of the tenets of this set of beliefs is that somehow, if we can only get out there, we will ensure our posterity. Years ago, someone said the following, which may be a suitable response:

"Said Man to the Universe, 'Sir, I exist'. Replied the Universe, 'I know; but the fact has not created in me any sense of obligation.'"

It may be that speciation through isolation on settled planets will give us the genetic diversity to become as successful as the rats; however, don't hold your breath. Would it not be better simply to go into space because we can? To react to it as a baby does when it finds today that it can move a little farther than yesterday? The difference is that we'll have no doting parent to reward us for our progress - we will be our own assessors. A dreadful responsibility.

Babies need no high-sounding words to start walking - we in our turn should need no high-sounding words to explore space. Let us not worry about species survival. We will survive via the efforts of our ingenious dscendants who will share the same fears as us. Whether anything else will survive our desire for existence remains to be seen.

Bobunf
2004-Dec-10, 09:41 PM
"this is not the only study supporting the fact that fertility is decreasing."

As I pointed out earlier, you don't need a study based on seven individuals to determine that fertility is decreasing worldwide. The Census Bureau reports the enumerated data in great detail.

Why is this happening? You seem to think it is "because of our negative influence on the environment, like polution (sic), radiation from nuclear activity" and, presumably, pesticides.

My own hypothesis is that it is because of the choices being made by the 18% of the population that is female and between the ages of 15 and 40.

I would support this hypothesis by stating that almost wherever and whenever the freedom of women to make reproductive and other choices has expanded, fertility has declined.

I would refute the nuclear activity idea by observing that Indonesia, with practically no nuclear activity, has had a 40% decline in fertility in the last 20 years; Brazil, 64% decline in the last 50 years; Nigeria, 21% in the last 50 years, and there are about 100 other such examples.

The United States, with the most nuclear activity of any country, has had rising fertility over the last twenty years. Could it be that radioactivity increases fertility?

How about this for homework—to substantiate, or refute, the pesticide idea. Compare rates of change in fertility to per capita pesticide use in countries across the world and across time. Is there a correlation, and, if so, in what direction? You might find it illuminating.

Bob

Essel
2004-Dec-11, 09:14 AM
I think human race will try to find ways around the many problems that have been discussed. It may eventually become extinct as the universe in its existing form becomes extinct one day. Matters beyond the physical reality will rule and we being physical cannot cope up with that situation.

Going through the maze of the problems and solutions we could come a long way as a race but for that we have to act in this direction. We shall have to have long terms plans for calamities and disasters. The threat could initially come from within the human race, environment, major subterranean activity, asteroid impact happening within a few decades or centuries and then the mega events like explosion of a supernova nearby, extinction of sun, collision of Milky-way with Andromeda etc. etc and may be ultimately a dead universe or a big collapse.

My suggestions given in another forum include:

First we should create calamity capsules on each continent with provisions to survive hundreds of designated people. All the technology and science that we have developed so far should not go waste and therefore these designated people should have the ability to recreate what has been lost.

The second is to build a large space station on low-earth orbit, much larger than ISS and with simulated gravity and ability to grow plants and foodstuff. Here again people from multiple discipline should be stationed.

The third should be a base in moon….and so on.

Over centuries we shall have most of the major risks covered within the solar system and then we have to look outside.

Ola D.
2004-Dec-11, 06:20 PM
Originally posted by Bobunf@Dec 10 2004, 09:41 PM
I would refute the nuclear activity idea by observing that Indonesia, with practically no nuclear activity, has had a 40% decline in fertility in the last 20 years; Brazil, 64% decline in the last 50 years; Nigeria, 21% in the last 50 years, and there are about 100 other such examples.




I am not saying here that nuclear radiation is the only cause for the decline of fertility! Please don't misunderstand my point.


The United States, with the most nuclear activity of any country, has had rising fertility over the last twenty years. Could it be that radioactivity increases fertility?
Well, is the population being exposed to the radiation? That's the key!

If the radiation damage occurs in germinal cells, the sex cells, it can cause defective offspring. The defective offspring will in turn produce defective sperm or ova, and the genetic `mistake' will be passed on to succeeding generations, reducing their quality of life until the family line terminates in sterilisation and/or death.[5] A blighted or abnormal embryonic growth can result in what is called a hydatidiform mole instead of a baby.

Here's the rest of the article:
http://www.ratical.org/radiation/NRBE/NRBE5.html

Another one:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fallo...ects_of_fallout (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_fallout#Effects_of_fallout)

Bobunf
2004-Dec-11, 08:53 PM
We’re looking at a phenomenon (correct me if I’m wrong) of worldwide declining human fertility.

Hypothesis: Human sponsored nuclear activity is a cause of this observation.

Test the hypothesis; scientific method.

Test result: There’s a negative correlation between human sponsored nuclear activity and the rate of decline in fertility.

I think one has to accept that the test result suggests that human sponsored nuclear activity may not be a cause of the observed decline in human fertility.

“is the population being exposed to the radiation? That's the key!”

Yes, indeed; and what would the above test result suggest?

“If the radiation damage occurs in germinal cells…”

Apparently it doesn’t.

There’s no sense in carrying on and on about how bad radiation is for you. We all know that drinking sulfuric acid in any quantity would cause death. Does that mean that the worldwide de-clining death rate indicates a decline in sulfuric acid production?

But, another test of your hypothesis might work like this: Human sponsored nuclear activity, if it has any affect overall human fertility, would have to affect a very large number of people, and would have to be extensively distributed such that the human sponsored nuclear activity would also affect animal populations including cats, dogs and rabbits.

Has fertility in these, and other, animal populations declined? I think you’ll find that the answer is no.

That’s two failed tests.

Dave Mitsky
2004-Dec-12, 05:38 AM
Bob,

What exactly do you mean by the most nuclear activity?

Dave Mitsky

astromark
2004-Dec-12, 05:54 AM
I don't think the facts suport your conclousions... Yes the fertility of men is and has been dropping. We do not know why.Its easy to speculate, there could be many reasons for our impotancy. Is the human race in danger of slipping into a negative population growth era. No, I dont think so. The global population is growing. is it not?
This will not be what kills of humanity.

Bobunf
2004-Dec-12, 06:24 AM
"What exactly do you mean by the most nuclear activity?"

The US
1. has more nuclear weapons than any other country in the world with the possible exception that Russia may be equal or very close.
2. generates more electricity from nuclear reactors than any other country
3. uses more plutonium in spacecraft than any other country
4. uses radiation for medical imaging and treatment more than any other country
uses more radioactive material in smoke detectors than any other country
5. etc.

Bob

astromark
2004-Dec-12, 07:31 AM
I dont believe this is the problem. I have been told that the amount of radiation emited from a cubic meter of soil is greater than your smoke detectors outputt. The people in our society that recieve large amounts of radiation from medical imaging or other processes are not genaraly still reproducing. Any fallout from re-entrying space craft does not exeed the background radiation here on earth. Power generation has proven to be clean. Having lots of weopons is not using them. I think we are at greater risk from chemical poisoning and pestasides dont you?

KillRide
2004-Dec-13, 06:59 AM
I seiously think it would be nuclear weapons / warfare ( http://www.armageddononline.org/nuke.php ) that take a chunk outta the population.

I don't find the thought of 'mutually assured destruction' all too comforting. In the long run, it would have to be an asteroid impact ( http://www.armageddononline.org/asteroid.php ) or an epidemic similar to the 1918 flu. The more cures we come up with, the more the viruses mutate...

scary stuff.

Bobunf
2004-Dec-13, 01:06 PM
“The more cures we come up with, the more the viruses mutate... “

Viruses have been mutating for a very long time; it’s how they avoid extinction from immune surveillance. But it’s extremely rare for a parasite to exterminate its host population; a poor long run survival strategy.

The Germ Theory of Disease is our most powerful defense against extinction from infection. We know how to protect against the spread of an infection. While pandemics will occur; extinction will not. The worldwide death rate from infection has been declining for two centuries. Reversals of such long term trends are rare.

Species suicide form nuclear weapons is a possibility, but we seem to have overcome an acute phase of that danger, which speaks well, I think, for our future safety from this danger.

Bob

astromark
2004-Dec-14, 12:20 PM
Yes, I agree with Bob. The Nuclear threat does seem to have diminished. Even after the Pentagon and the twin towers were hit the USA did not launch a nuclear responce. Major asteroid strike or commet impact could put us in dier predicament. I wonder if we are safe from our selves still. As we have seen, a small group of fundamentalists or any extremist group could start something we cant stop. Keep an eye on that commet. If its not moving against the background over a few days. Its comming strait in. Oops.

filrabat
2005-Jan-02, 11:06 AM
Yup. We will come to an end one day. If not through our own human-induced foolishness, then either due to
(1) the ever-brightening sun or through all the hydrogen (star fuel) being locked up in stars and star remnants, or
(2) the last main sequence star fading away, or
(3) ENTROPHY (esp proton decay, if protons do indeed decay in the long run).

ChromeStar
2005-Jan-02, 11:49 AM
Maybe Not there has been some speculation of being one day able move to another universe - one like our own or inhabitable

GOURDHEAD
2005-Jan-02, 01:17 PM
While pandemics will occur; extinction will not. The worldwide death rate from infection has been declining for two centuries. Reversals of such long term trends are rare. Don't forget the prions: they could be the principle cause of the dinosaurs' extinction...aided and abetted by the asteroid.

eburacum45
2005-Jan-03, 10:56 AM
Are we talking about Mad Dinosaur Disease here?

GOURDHEAD
2005-Jan-03, 12:34 PM
Or some equally fatal malady. Prions may not be constrained to the central nervous system.

Bobunf
2005-Jan-03, 01:09 PM
I think of all the things that might cause the extinction of a species prion disease, as manifested in mad cow disease, is one of the least likely.

Firstly, the incidence of the disease is very low, in humans barely at the level of delectability—less than one in ten million.

Secondly, the disease generally manifests itself after the primarily reproduction years, and is thus irrelevant to species survival.

Thirdly, the mode of transmission is pretty bizarre and artificial, involving cannibalism amongst herbivores. One would think relatively easily done away with.

Fourthly, nobody understands the mechanism that produces the mis-folding of the protein. When that understanding is gained, protection from the disease will likely be much simpler and less expensive, as has been the case with almost all diseases.

Whether prions had anything whatever to do with any species extinction, let alone dinosaurs, is just wild speculation. It could also have been some other disease, invading aliens, or horrendous allergy to some new parasite that also went extinct when its dinosaur host disappeared—leaving no trace. Or the whole thing could just be nonsense.

Rest easy; the world won’t end with a prion.

Bob

lswinford
2005-Jan-03, 03:06 PM
Populations don't always follow straight lines or even exponential curves. History has shown a Europe full of people and comparatively devoid of people several times. Archeaology tends to show the waxing and waning of fortunes and populational pressures in distinct and sometimes dramatic fashion.

To quote from a rather persistantly popular old book, a certain wealthy king lamented, "I hated all my labour which I had taken under the sun: because I should leave it unto the man that shall be after me. And who knoweth whether he shall be a wise man or a fool?" He further noted, "that which now is in the days to come shall all be forgotten." The arrogance of comparatively recent years has today's people the most brilliant of luminaries and the ancients to be blithering idiots. Those cycles will undoubtedly continue. We will certainly having our shining moments punctuated by still more dark ages to come. Fertility will rise and fall, England and Sweden are excellent examples, technology will rise and fall, and history has abundantly demonstrated a consistent matrix of reasons. Sometimes fools succeed and sometimes the wise fail and sometimes the forces of the universe about them weigh more heavily than we are able, as a recent earthquake and tsunami so horribly demonstrated.

Economics and business management has brought about some interesting things that may assist in the perpetuation of the human race. Risk management, asset allocation and diversification, and the net multiplier effects from replicating successful enterprise models and timely disbanding of unsuccessful models. When big chain businesses expanded by placing similar or functionally identical successful stores in still further places they not only expanded their profit potential but minimized certain kinds of business risks. While events that caused business to be poor in one area may cause business to be good in another, therefore if you had businesses in both areas then the net effect moderated losses in one place with gains in another. Whether building habitats on the moon, Mars, etc. or Gerard O'Neal-type cities in space, or some combination of both, this is spreading our presence, and spreading our risk, and sustaining our technology--and enhancing our survivability. Similar voices in the future will mimic our cries that 'earth is our crib but man cannot stay in the crib forever' and we will not only want to expand to habitations beyond earth, but beyond our solar system, and eventually even beyond our galaxy.

But then, as that certain old book also notes, we may encounter limitations overwhich we might not be able to surpass, "Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further." Then too, the first Superman movie also depicted the risk of staying in one place and becoming oblivious to dangerous changes.

folkhemmet
2005-Jan-04, 03:14 AM
Will we die out? Well, it's going to be pretty hard to wipe out all 6-7 billion of us. Even if a man-made or natural pandemic takes out 99.9 percent of us that still leaves, if my math is correct, about 6 million people. That's how many people were around at the end of the last ice age. And here we are writing on computers.

This is not to say that we shouldn't be worried about dying out. It is pretty hard to refute the argument that we should be preventing the extinction of our own species the best we can. All of art, science, literature, politics, and argumentation itself depends on the existence of human beings.

We must distinguish between our extinction or the end of the world and the end of the world as we know it. I remember having a discussion about this very subject with friends in the ninth grade. My one friend pointed out that most disasters, man-made or otherwise, would not mean the end of the world but rather would mean the end of our modern technological civilization.

As for complete extinction, I heard a former astronaut on NASA TV recite some figure that there is a 1 in 455 chance that humanity will be wiped out by either a comet, asteriod, or super-volcanoes within the next 100 years. He was saying, and I believe quite correctly, that we better start moving off earth and colonizing the final frontier before it is too late!

Bobunf
2005-Jan-04, 06:25 AM
"Fertility will rise and fall"

I don't think there has ever been a time when fertility for some definable group of humans displayed any kind of cyclical behaviour. Do you have some example?

I think there is a fairly strong inverse correlation between GDP per capita and fertility, to some extent overwhelmed by the strong secular downward trend of fertility in the 20th century. But I don't think there's any broad cyclical behaviour in GDP per capita, except, perhaps, for the business cycle, which is pretty short term; and, I think, completely unrelated to human survival.

Bob

lswinford
2005-Jan-05, 09:15 PM
Fertility rates fell in Rome because of lead poisoning from the plumbing, although specific numbers would be hard to derive. The fertility rates in the English colonies in North America were a scandal to England in the 17th and 18th centuries. The populations of places like England and Sweden were referenced because of some common statistics over time. Sweden has a population between 8-9 million today. A study in Historical Methods (Anders Brandstrom, 3/22/1998) for infant mortality suggests that the Swedish population essentially doubled between 1850 and 1900. Two years later, John Rogers illustrated periods of birth rates historically rising and falling in Sweden. Use the statistical site ssd.scb.se for some numbers: short-term stagnation with sudden jumps like 1891-1892-1893 and before WWII compared to after and in the 1860s there was a measurable decline following an uneven increase. Jean-Claude Chesnais (Population and Development Review, 12/1/1996) observed a paradoxical population shift in Europe in his introductory statement:

"Fertility rates in Western Europe are well below replacement level while population growth rates are close to zero. Although Mediterranean nations used to exhibit high fertility levels while Scandinavia used to report low ones, the situation has been reversed. In examining fertility differential, the status of women in Italy and Sweden are analyzed and the attitudes and policies toward the family in Italy and Germany are contrasted with those in Sweden and the UK."

Fertility rates float for a variety of reasons and those reasons change over time. For instance, Chesnais' prescription for fixing the population problem in Europe is, "Evidence shows that higher status of women may be needed in raising fertility to replacement level in advanced industrial nations." It is almost a truism that populations where women have low status and families face great hardships or there is low range of educational or entertainment sophistication have high birth rates, greater fertility rates. These things are not static. The scandalous rates of America have changed, wherein the English descendants, generally comparatively prosperous, have few children while immigrants, often from comparatively impoverished lands, have many. American Blacks had been the predominant minority here, but the Hispanic population, with a noble showing by various Asian immigrant groups are displacing Blacks and Native Americans, and also minimizing their relative socio-political influence.

Bobunf
2005-Jan-07, 07:13 AM
“Fertility rates fell in Rome…”

What is your source for this assertion? And what period(s) of time is this supposed to involve? One is talking about around 1100 years for the Western Empire. And what areas? Just the city of Rome? Italy? The entire Roman Empire? What about Byzantium? Any assertion as to the cause of any possible fall in fertility related to lead plumbing would be the wildest speculation—supported by nothing.

There is a very big, and crucial difference between fertility, birth rate and population change.

The total fertility rate is the expected lifetime number of live births per female, To put it specifically, for a given year, t, the sum for all x of the number of births in year t to women aged between exact ages x and x +1 divided by the number of women attaining exact age x in year t where x is any whole number between 15 and 50.

For the number of years in the future that one knows the total fertility rates, one can accurately predict population. Death rates and migration are compartively stable, and have generally less significant effects than fertility rates.

The birth rate is equal to the number of births in a year divided by the total population. This is not a very useful number for most purposes since the denominator includes men, children and women over 50. Also, and obviously, as different sized cohorts of women move through the life cycle, the birth rate will rise whenever a relatively large cohort enters periods of high age specific fertility.

To give a simple example, if all women gave birth at age 20, and it happened that there was a co-hort of women twice the size of the other groups, and all cohorts had the same age specific fertil-ity rate, the birth rate would suddenly double when this cohort reached age 20, then fall back to the background. And this process would cyclically repeat every 20 years, even though the total fertility rate had not changed at all. The significance for predicting future population size would be about zero.

Changes in total population are affected by death rates and migration as well as fertility. It’s not possible to impute fertility rates only from changes in total population.

“The fertility rates in the English colonies in North America were a scandal to England in the 17th and 18th centuries.”

How does this subjective statement say anything about quantitative measures of the total fertility rates? Maybe these people were prudes; maybe they read or heard exaggerated or inaccurate ac-counts involving sexual promiscuity or other phenomena; maybe there was a political or eco-nomic agenda.

“Fertility rates float for a variety of reasons and those reasons change over time.” I don’t think any evidence supports this assertion. Total fertility rates in the modern world—the only period for which we have reliable quantitative information—show a very consistent strong secular down trend. No floating.

Why fertility rates change is not known. People speculate and develop hypothesis, but the lack of understanding is, I think, rather dramatically demonstrated by the 2002 UN release of population estimates for 2050. Their estimate of world population was reduced from 11 billion to 8.9 billion—almost a 20% reduction involving looking ahead little more than a generation.

Since we don’t know the reasons, I would think it would be hard to maintain that those reasons have changed.

Bob

rainbow
2005-Jan-07, 07:31 AM
The earth is already dying as people is wasting the earth's resources. another 20- 100 years more and the earth will really really die.mankind will be wiped out... .. some people thought if going to mars to live after earth died.... but how can we get water? so thers no way to solve that problem... Anyway, who knows about space explorations???? post some answers about the solar system please.... i need to do some work on those...

suntrack2
2005-Jan-07, 04:45 PM
the five aspects are very important in this regard:
1. sky,2.air,3.water,4.fire.5.earth these are the basic factors while their proportion taking into account anything if grows then the calamities occur, if calamities occurs then these are falling impact on human being, later the man heated with these factors. the question of the life of earth? it is difficult to say, but earth will remain but the proportion of the factors may be largely increase or may be largely decrease,

have anyone imagine if a great sea turn into the desert? if a dezert turn into the big mountain? the mountain turn into the deep valley? these are all questions of irregular results of the nature afterall, if the time has come for the mass deaths of the humankind on earth then it is upto the nature, nature shape up the weight on earth, earth itself manage its load in shaped manner. so this question of "will we die out" no immediate statement can be made in this regard. may be the situation comes later than only a couple will be there on earth? then it will again reproduce the paradise of humankind on earth.

Ola D.
2005-Jan-08, 09:32 AM
Originally posted by lswinford@Jan 3 2005, 03:06 PM
Populations don't always follow straight lines or even exponential curves.
No they don't.
Populations form a sigmoid curve (S-shaped curve) which is divided into 3 parts representing three stages: lag, log and stationary.

The lag curve shows slow increase in numbers of the population as the reproduction rate is fairly low because at this stage the population is tryiing to accomodate and adapt the surroundings. The log shows an exponential growth rate. While in the stationary the death rate would equal to birth rate.

Scientifically, we, humans, are in the log phase. A constructed plot of the world human population would appear as steeply rising J-shaped curve.