The Instigator
Pro (for)
The Contender
Con (against)

Overpopulation exists and is a problem

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/16/2017 Category: People
Updated: 1 year ago Status: Debating Period
Viewed: 1,685 times Debate No: 99978
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (63)
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I believe overpopulation is currently a big problem. With our current technology we are unable to provide for and sustain such enormous amount of people, while maintaining the health and renewable resources/ species that are on the planet.

Round 1: Accept and state your view on overpopulation.

Round 2: Give an argument for or against overpopulation.

Round 3: rebuttals/closing arguments.


By distributing wealth, rearranging our current social power relations, the entire population can be sustained. If the sufficent resources are here to provide for each person, are not exhausted, we are today by necessity neither overpopulated nor out-resourced (even though our current consumption of energy may be unsustainable).

And, if we devise ways of consuming less and consuming better then I believe this will solve many of the issues my opponent believes are caused by overpopulation... We are continually adapting and finding solutions to accommodate our needs as a race; over reducing the population, purging against overpopulation, it is through continual human pragmatics that we will be able to further expand and develop as a species.
Debate Round No. 1


My opponent believes that population increase is sustainable. He claims the human race will advance technological innovations to adapt to the increase in population.

I aim to provide evidence against that claim and provide evidence, that overpopulation exists and is a problem. I believe that currently, our global population is growing quicker than we're able to adapt and innovate.

before I present my argument I'd like you to visually see what overpopulation causes. Whether it's directly or indirectly, the fact of the matter is, overpopulation causes this kind of devastation: development-overpopulation-overshoot-global-population-speakout/

The effects of overpopulation.

Everyone of these points has a link to overpopulation. The idea is simple; the more humans there are, the more humans there are to cause these problems.

[1] Prices of gasoline are high because the demand has exceeded the natural resources.
What happens when the net amount of energy we extract from the earth is shrinking? How then, does an economy grow exponentially forever if the one element it needs more than anything to flourish is contracting with time?
As a demand for fossil fuels increases, so does the supply. The problem is, the supply is dwindling. Therefore the prices must be increased to make up for that.

[2] Prices of fish are high because the oceans are being overfished.
In just 50 years, the global spread of industrial scale commercial fishing has cut large populations fish. Around 85% of global fish stocks are over-exploited, depleted.
When you consider that roughly 1 billion people rely on sea food, it's scary to think that the seas are being over fished to a point, where supply will soon not be able to meet demand.

Source regarding over fishing:

Source regarding over dependence on fish:

[3] The earth is polluted with plastics.
A simple walk on any beach, anywhere, and the plastic waste spectacle is present.
From the whale, sea lions, and birds to the microscopic organisms called zoo-plankton, plastic has been, and is, greatly affecting marine life on shore and off shore.
Even the UN is warning that micro-plastics in the sea, is a growing threat to human health.

Regarding micro plastics:

[4] Rivers and bays are polluted because of high level of population and industrialization.
Hundreds of millions of people do not have access to improved sources of drinking water, leaving them at risk for water sanitation and hygiene related diseases. Worldwide, 1.5 million children die annually from diarrhoea illnesses that are caused by unsafe water, poor sanitation, and inadequate hygiene.
As global population increases, so does the contaminants found in water, from sewage and manufacturing processes.

Regarding water pollution.

[5] Electric energy is insufficient because traditional sources of energy are limited.
We simply can't sustain the growing demand for energy. Renewable energy sources are not powering the world yet. Until they do, we will continue to experience a large rise in gas and electric prices.

Regarding price increase for gas and electricity:

[6] Wild animals are disappearing because of over-hunting and environmental destruction.
It's said we're currently responsible for the 6th mass extinction.
1,000 species are lost per year, mostly due to human-caused habitat destruction.
Habitat destruction is caused by an ever growing population and a need to make room for farms.

Regarding humans and extinction:

[7] Large predators have disappeared because of clashes with too many people.
As human encroach onto habitats occupied by animals such as elephants. Elephants are not only being squeezed into smaller and smaller areas, but farmers plant crops that elephants like to eat. As a result, elephants frequently raid and destroy crops. They can be very dangerous too.

The elephant human conflict:

[8] Deforestation is a major problem.
As the demand for farmland and wood increases, so does deforestation. About half of the world's tropical forests have been cleared. This is a problem for many reasons. One such reason is because we rely on trees to absorb carbon dioxide that is responsible for global warming. Without these trees the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is only going to become higher.

Regarding deforestation:

[9] Property taxes have increased dramatically because of a lack of suitable land. This makes Cost of living is very high.
It's very simple. As populations grow, the cost of buying and running properties grow. This in turn leads to less luxurious living and in many cases increased poverty.

Regarding housing and population increase:

[10] Air pollution caused by overpopulation.
As the amount of traffic on the roads increase, so does the carbon emission released by these vehicles. This, as well as industry cause poisonousness smog in cities. A great example is Chinas smog.

Regarding Chinas smog:

Overpopulation has a direct link to all of these problems. It is vital that we control overpopulation. If we do not then these problem will only get worse and many new problems will arise.
I hope these points have proven to you that, we're not currently able to sustain many natural environments and species. The effect of overpopulation is damaging and is a concern currently.

I will end with a quote from a source and that source:

"We have a finite planet with finite resources. In such a system, you can"t have infinite population growth"


My interlocutor's reductive definition of 'human pragmatics' as 'technological innovations' creates a straw man of my position. The proposition I was asserting was that that human adaption, problem-solving and ingenuity by a continual, accumulative process, however slow, has devised all the solutions to all our major problems in the past and so is very likely to do so in the future. I fully acknowledge that this is an inductive inference but one I hope to demonstrate as justified.

On a purely formal note, may I remind my opponent that whilst the internet today may be viewed as the source of omniscient knowledge, that their sources must be credible and that there is no evidential substitute for good reasoning. Sending commercial images from 'boredpanda' with partisan captions, is not a good backing for his argument. Also reminding them, for I'm sure they know this already, that sources such as the 'National Geographic' have a vested interest in presenting evidence in a certain manner; by citing them, you are citing judgements on global statistics. They may be correct judgements, but you need to accompany them with the statistical support. In some of the sources you use (NOT ALL) you are merely citing opinions to vindicate your own opinions not actually ascertaining any proof.

As regards to fishing, microplastics, water pollution, gas and electricity, animal extinction, pollution, deforestation and the inflation of house prices, may I also remind him that there is no necessity by which a large population causes these effects. As an independent variable, a vast population can sustain itself devoid of all of these things. My opposition confuses correlation with causation; you assume matters of social-economy as naturally entailing of a population size. While it of course has affect on the economy, we can perfectly conceive of a vast and multifarious polity thriving without eating fish, producing plastic and over-exploiting the finite natural resources of our planet. We as a society takes so much unnecessarily that of course there are going to be negative repercussions on the environment. Therefore, I reject all of your evidence on the basis that you assumes a modern capitalist system where each individual of the populous consumes products unsustainably to the detriment of the environment. We don't have to consume as much as we do in order to survive with the numbers we possess; in fact, we could consume sustainably if people changed their lifestyles.

'But this is just the way things are!', you angrily retort. 'It would be idealistic to say we could change our ways!'

I'd you be right. But, humans are resourceful and will respond to crises with solutions. In 'Discipline and Punish' Foucault writes how 'the plague is met my order' (p197); I say, when natural disasters occur, when great problems arise that affect people directly, these problems will be met with solutions. Yes, this may mean that animals go--and are-- going extinct because this fact doesn't affect people individually and is protected by a social phenomenon of 'collective responsibility' (or ought I say collective irresponsibility). It isn't my fault; it's everyone's fault. Therefore, I won't do anything. But when crises are immanent, people unite to oppose them, devising solutions. Even if billions die either the human race will die out or provides a solution. And, we're still here right now providing support to the latter. The idea is simple; the more humans there are, the more humans there are to solve these problems.

But how would these solutions come about? The conditions of society would have to change, due to our societal way of life and not population size, to the extent collective consciousness will be forced into change. We already see some of this consciousness emerging today in environmental awareness organisations and individual beliefs.... but wait, suppose you still don't believe that our societal system over population increase causes all these detrimental factors we see in the world.

I would first like to direct your attention towards this chart:
You'll notice how over time population growth decreases in wealthy countries (MEDCs) over time whilst maintaining consistently high in LEDCs like Africa. (to clarify: more and less economically developed countries).
In countries where they have less, less contraception, less resources, they have more children. Our rate of population growth has declined; we acknowledge the limited resources in our decisions to have children. Because we have more readily available contraception, because the majority only has children if they can support them and because we know how having children might reduce our quality of life if we cannot financially sustain them, we are having less children than we did 50 years ago. And, global poverty is decreasing.

Places like Africa, in draught and dearth, don't have the resources to sustain their population; therefore, many die. And, even with humanitarian aid, the various oligarch and corrupt forms of government siphon the resources of the people for their own personal wealth. Economy again gets in the way of multilateral aid and a fair distribution of wealth. Big businesses and dominant power institutes collate all the resources for themselves.

Take the American distribution of wealth--
If it was evened out, then those in poverty would be able to purchase the available tools they need in order to survive. If we shared all that we had, then there is enough for everyone to be able to survive.

Look-- we have enough food.

Do you still believe that there aren't enough resources to sustain global population? Only by virtue of our consumerist distribution of wealth are resources inflating prices, only by virtue that we plunder nature to the extent that we over-exploit the environment, only because we demand the unnecessary, does our population suffer from the issues you have raised. If we were to change how we live, if we only took what we needed to take and not what we needed for profits, then effects of human society would radically change. Our high population is only detrimental when placed in a the avarice of our current economic system.

You assume a model of supply and demand, by the way. Take away the demand for unnecessary items and you'll find that the supply left over is copious enough to sustain us all. Yet, suppose you believe that the rising human population necessitates more demand. Even when exponential population growth occurs, which it will continue to do so, when resources are unavailable and disease strife and each of the population has less, it is obvious that necessary demand will never surpass supply. For, the moment it does so, those without the necessary supplies to live will die. You may argue that mankind will never live such ascetic lives as only to consume necessary pleasures, that we are all egoists and capitalism is the only model which applies in practice, to which is the line of reasoning I encourage you to pursue. I agree and this is why I think MEDC's favour a quality of life, wealth, over having lots of children. But, if you do this, I expect expert knowledge on ontology, psychiatry and the human condition.

To sum up, in short, I reject your argument because it suggests that humans have to do what we as a society are doing now. Instead, I argue that as a species we can change and adapt ourselves so that we can accommodate a larger and larger population until our supply outweighs our demand. This is not now. I have demonstrated that we are neither overpopulated nor have exhausted all of our resources.
Debate Round No. 2
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Debate Round No. 3
63 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Masterful 1 year ago
Thanks. I'm going to be turning over a new leaf, as I've realised that I've been a racist pig.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
I'll give you one more because of your topless new profile picture XD
Posted by Masterful 1 year ago
Well I was hoping to get to 100 comments.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
That's not 'ad hominem'; you can take the work of a scholar when he writes on one topic, and apply to another topic they explore. I wasn't criticising you, but merely taking into account your broader framework of ideas.

And again, it's not a capitalist or communist dichotomy... which I've already explained. I would suggest changes within the capitalist system which I've already explained (like the observation and minimisation of monopoly) to reduce some of its negative effects. I've already explained all this and you just go back to irrelevant points. As such, I will no longer respond to this.
Posted by Masterful 1 year ago
Also my views are not relevant to the question of "Does overpopulation exist?"
I would regard, you bringing up my views to back your point, as an ad hominen attack.
You should focus more on the substance of a debate, rather than the debater.
Posted by Masterful 1 year ago
"I think we can change our system (which we can)"

You think we can change the entire capitalist system, into your communist system? You're utterly laughable. The world isn't going to change just because you have an idea.

You're making a claim, that the entire world can turn communist and begin sharing. Prove it. Until then you're points are worthless.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
To directly answer then, humorous since you avoid my every point... yes I am concerned about animal extinction. But, no, our current social-economic model isn't. Therefore, I think we should change the system (which we can) instead of your proposed (on other debates) discriminative eugenics.
Posted by Masterful 1 year ago
Keeping certain species alive doesn't mean we have to value these species over humans, that's a ridiculous question for you to ask.

All you've done with your reply was ignore my question which was:
"Is losing species, due to habitat loss from a need for farm land, not a concern of yours?"

This debate will go back and forth forever, because you're unable to ever answer simple questions properly.
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
I might right now, not 'right not'
Posted by TheUnexaminedLife 1 year ago
No, you keep making this about the future. All I'm saying is that right not millions live with a very poor quality of life whilst a few live in excess and waste a lot. Instead of them wasting this, they could give it to raise the quality of life of those who need it today.
As for remark on animal species, just in conjunction with the other argument where you admit racism, does this mean you prioritise animal life over certain human lives?
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