The Instigator
roman.legion
Pro (for)
Losing
3 Points
The Contender
spoon171
Con (against)
Winning
30 Points

Overpopulation is a stupid, damaging myth.

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/27/2007 Category: Society
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,249 times Debate No: 1043
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (3)
Votes (11)

 

roman.legion

Pro

1). Almost every developed country in the world has a below replacement fertility rate.

2). Humans occupy 1-3% of the world's surface.

3). Every person on Earth could go to Texas, and we'd still all have 1000 square feet of living space. This is slightly more living space than in San Fransico.

4). Farmers use less than half the land that could be used for agriculture.

5). Kansas alone could provide enough wheat to feed the world.

6). Starvation and poverty have always existed, even when the population was considerably less. It is a result of bad distribution and economic policy.

7). Witness the problems caused by the baby boomer generation. A shrinking aging population places a burden upon the coming generations.

8). Babies are good. Seriously.
spoon171

Con

I will answer each of your arguments based off of your numbering.

1. Even if you are correct that growth rates are low in developed countries, the problem is in the developing nations of the world. Population growth rates are through the roof in under-developed countries and continents. Look at studies, rates are through the roof in india, china, and the entire African continent. India, and portions of africa alone, the largest population spots in the world are continuing to boom.

2. You are now conflating overpopulation and population density. You may be correct that the population lives on less than 97% of the earth's surface. However in looking at population growth rates it is a question of access to resources and the effect we have on the planet we use. Things like booming industrial rates is poisoning the rest of the planet. Destruction of the ozone, clear-cutting of forests etc. is killing our access of resources, we have way too many people consuming what is left on the planet to maintain a habitable planet.

3. See above, you conflate theories of overpopulation and population density.

4. There is no statistic that proves this. Also there are other conditions that effect what can be used for agriculture. Loss of rainfall or low precipitation rates in Missouri for the last couple of years has effected their ability to grow crops and hay stocks to maintain enough to support large livestock populations for cold winters. Also, due to poorer agricultural practices of the past have left some areas of land un-arable due to low soil quality or land that will not be productive for more than 3 seasons. This means it is impossible to have a form of sustainable agriculture.

5. Again strikingly similar to above. Also this is untrue. Being a kansan, I can see fields around my house that have stopped production due to poor quality of land or the loss of economic desirability. Kansas has also brought their production of crops like winter wheat to a staggering halt that hurts the ability of the state to feed more than even their own population.

6. Starvation and poverty has been on the rise when people have come to control resouces, which you call "bad distribution." It is this lack of access to resources in areas that could have susainability that proves overpopulation. Look to the demise of farming in Africa and India. Farming has no longer been able to keep up with their populations because of the booms over the last several decades.

7. See number 1, you focus only on overpopulation in the US. While you may win that overpopulation does not exist in the united states, boosted growth in other areas of the world have proved that birth rates our blowing death rates out of the water. So even if we shrink, other more problematic areas in the world get worse.

8. Even if babies are good, the elderly are not dieing off fast enough to sustain more babies. Widen your scopes, the world is bigger than america.
Debate Round No. 1
roman.legion

Pro

1. You lamblast me for stating things without proving them. What are the actual growth rates in these countries. I've heard of studies that say the world population is going to level off and then sink within the next 50 years. I'm really curious about this population boom in Africa. The life expectancy over there is like 45 years.

2. Again, do you have statistics to prove that production is going down?

4. Horse hockey. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, world food supplies exceed requirements in all world areas. That was the case in 1999 anyway. Are we really so much worse off today?

5. Loss of economic desirability? Seriously? Do you know what that means? It means we're making so much of whatever they were growing that it is no longer profitable for them to make it. Thank you for proving my point.

6. What about China? They're the most overpopulated, so shouldn't they have the most starvation too? It's funny you talk about the demise of farming in Africa. You see, I take policy debate, and this year's topic happened to be Africa. Did you know that Africa works about 10%-50% of its usable farmland.
I work in a restaurant. Forget other countries feeding themselves, I'd be willing to bet we could feed most of the starving people with just the things Americans throw away. And when you add in the food that we over eat, you've probably taken care of the rest of the starving people.

Like I said, we could feed all the starving people, we're just to stupid or lazy to get it done.

7. Again where are YOUR statistics? Imagine what a growing aging population would do to a country with an infrastructure already ravaged by AIDS and poverty. This argument does not just apply to the US.

8. On behalf of all of the old people in the world, I would just like to officially apologize for them not dieing off fast enough. Sorry 45 is too old of a life expectancy for you. (I feel kind of bad about this last point, but you have to admit you asked for it. "Not dieing off fast enough," seriously).
spoon171

Con

It is unwise to lambast my lack of statistics when I merely question yours, in your final post....you are going to have some explaining to do....

1. Global Population Growth: First, the global population will double in the next 50 years, according to David Pimentel of Cornell University, last year. He Writes: "The world population is projected to double its current number of 6.5 billion in about 58 years, based on the current growth rate of 1.2% per year.....the world population will continue to expand for about 70 years, before stabilizing at about 13 billion people."

Also, According to Chris Bystroff, an associate professor of biology and computer science at the Polytech Institute: "Global population is increasing by about 1 billion every 12 years, according to various sources including the U.N. At the same time, scientists have failed to detect any increase in the size of our planet. It therefore requires only a little math to prove that overpopulation is not a myth."

Both of these sources seem to indicate that global science is agreeing that the global population is continuing to grow, and we are reaching what they call the carrying capacity, meaning that we are reaching the number of people that the planet's environment can physically handle.

2. Land Use: You still conceed that you conflate overpopulation and population density. Here is some information that says we are about to reach the amount of usable land. This is from VHEMT in 2007: "If we define uninhabited as areas where human influence is ecologically insignificant, I think we'll find very little land left to spread out on. It's naive to think that all we have to do is distribute ourselves better to solve crowding problems. We need far more than a place to squat. We need water, food, and warmth."

This seems to answer your argument that we cannot find enough land that is ecologically sound for humans to live on, because we cannot find enough of the 3 things we need to survive: food, water, and warmth. You seem to oversimplify the argument by believing that all we need is some place to lay down.

3-5. Farming: You cite sources from 1999 that said we overproduced, with little evidence that supports your claim that we can produce at the needed levels now. I will also use information from 1999 that shows that your statistics are wrong. All of the following bits of information are from the worldwatch institute. First, Land production is going down: "The slower growth in the world grain harvest since 1984 is due to the lack of new land and to slower growth in irrigation and fertilizer use. Irrigated area per person, after expanding by 30 percent from 1950 until 1978, has declined by 4 percent since then as growth in the irrigated area has fallen behind that of population."

Second, even if we found more land, it would not yeild more grain: "future growth in grain production must come almost entirely from raising land productivity. Unfortunately, this is becoming more difficult. After rising at 2.1 percent a year from 1950 to 1990, the annual increase in grainland productivity dropped to scarcely 1 percent from 1990 to 1997. The challenge for the world's farmers is to reverse this decline at a time when cropland area per person is shrinking, the amount of irrigation water per person is dropping, and the crop yield response to additional fertilizer use is falling."

Finally, productivity will bottom out in parts of Africa, the middle east, and southeast asia: "Countries such as Ethiopia, India, Iran, Nigeria, and Pakistan will see grainland per person shrink by 2050 to less than one tenth of a hectare (one fourth of an acre)—far smaller than a typical suburban building lot in the United States." All three of these citations seem to indicate that we do not have enough land, and even if we can find some, we cannot produce enough grain.

Next, Economic Desiribility. You say that I proved your points by making the argument that they have stopped growing due to poor economics. However this means that if we try to grow more crops for our people, or the world which you say we can do, it wont happen because farmers have let their lands degrade to a point where it cannot be used.

6. China and Africa: See, you think its funny that you are a policy debater, yet I debated for 8 years and I coach now, so I will teach you something your coach never taught you about africa.

First, population growth is up in africa. From Gwynne Dwyer 2007: "You look at the numbers and you think: "That's impossible." Uganda had about seven million people at independence in 1962, and in only 45 years it has grown to 30 million. By 2050, just over four more decades, there will be 130 million Ugandans, and it will be the twelfth biggest country in the world, with more people than Russia or Japan."

Here's more, from the Union for African Population Studies in this year: "Sub-Saharan Africa's population is still growing rapidly, and is expected to reach 1.7 billion in the next forty-five years primarily as a result of current and past high fertility. Early marriage, high desired family size, gender disparity in socioeconomic status, low contraceptive use, and unequal access to information and services are some of the major reasons for sustained high fertility in Africa. This high population growth is occurring in a context of high levels of poverty, poor education, low economic growth, environmental degradation, and food insecurity."

China: Now, china is a big grain exporter and it is destroying their ability to grow more grain, from Pimentel again: "In the future, when exporting nations must keep surpluses at home, Egypt, Jordan, and countless other countries in Africa and Asia will be without the food imports that now help them survive. China, which now imports many tons of food, illustrates this problem. As the Worldwatch Institute has pointed out, if China's population increases by 500 million and their soil erosion continues unabated, it will need to import 200-400 million tons of food each year by 2050."

China and India and the world food market: "Because of industrialization leading to loss of agricultural land, population growth, and the demand for more meat instead of grain as incomes rise, China is projected to need to import 240 million tons of food annually by the year 2030. The same projections show India (currently an exporter of food) needing to import 30 million tons a year. .....Accordingly, the increasing demand for food imports by growing economies like China's will almost certainly drive the price of food up over the next 30 years, virtually ensuring that more people elsewhere will suffer from starvation."

This proves that china and india's consumption will greatly effect the rest of the world. Now, you say that we overconsume and throw too much food in America away, which you are correct, however it is impossible to change our lifestyle to one where we stop wasting food and other resources, and even if we do, look at my evidence above, prices are about to fly through the roof anyway.

Finally, Old People Dieing: I am not advocating that we should kill of everyone who is old. My argument is that due to advances in technology we are losing all of the death checks that were naturally built in. Things like medicine have elevated our bodies to exist beyond our natural limits. Diseases were created to check our overpopulation and overconsumption of the planet, yet when we can take medicine to escape diseases, means of natural death so our birth rates and death rates can balance out are decreasing.

There, I am the only one citing statistics and using different aspects of science to show why overpopulation is not a myth, it is a very serious problem that needs to be thoroughly discussed. Even if we stop being stupid and lazy in america, the world may be too far behind to solve the problem.

After reading all of this, two words for you: Bring It!
Debate Round No. 2
roman.legion

Pro

You're a former debater, and a current debate coach, huh? Well then you'll understand this.

I cede you the round, but because I believe you to be correct, but because I'm lazy. I think it more than possible for me to find counter studies saying that everything you just said is a bunch of bunk. But why waste everyone's time? I'd have to waste time reseaching it, you'd have to waste time countering it with more research, and voters would have to waste time reading...

Ok, so it wouldn't waste everyone's time.

If debate has taught me anything, it is to not trust evidence like this. It is entirely possible that your sources are legitmate and know what they're talking about. Even if they are, they'll probably still be wrong in the end. On the other hand, it is equally possible that they are alarmist nutbags who like to twist studies and present only one side. I, for my part, think I am quite capable of finding sources that, if not legitimate, at least sound legitimate. Again, why waste everyone's time? On a topic like this, you're going to have evidence going in every direction, and I'd rather not dig through the muck to find the evidence that supports me (and trust me its out there).

Not to belittle what you did, though, that must have taken a lot of time. And that is why I cede the round.

Still, I bet I get at least between 10% and 25% of the vote anyway.

Nice job. Fun debate. Try not to brag too much.
spoon171

Con

A concession? Thats no fun. I am very disappointed, however, that you concider research, more arguments, and persuading/educating the readers..a waste of time. Debate is all about education and persuasion. Even if you dont want to spend all of that time researching, you could have still made arguments. Thats all this is about, not bragging about winning, or getting mad about losses, its about discourse.

Next you talk about the credibility of my evidence. If scientific studies and statistical analysis isnt credible, then nothing is. Actually nothing is probably credible anyway. You say that this is a presentation of one side or half truths, but that is true of anything that anyone ever writes. The real question is do you believe what they are saying. Even if you think everything I posted is a bunch of lies, you are probably right, but so is everything on the other side of this debate. Its all speculation. If you challenged me again to a debate on this topic, I would willingly take the other side. Why? I would get to spend the time researching the other side of this debate, more education, the potential for more discourse.

We should find another topic to have a debate about, but only if you promise not to conceede the debate, I agree it was fun.

Now, to answer the comment that Solarman left. You may think that this is a dumb and evil argument, and you may be right, however it is fun to talk about and research. If you are willing to have a debate about alternatives to overpopulation theory, I would be willing to toe the line. You say that people are duped and that the earth doesnt have feelings. That is not my argument, I never talked about any of the extremists who talk about the connection with Gaia or any of that, however, I do believe that if we destroy our environment, we only begin to harm ourselves.

Thanks for the both of your insight, again, I am ready and willing to have a debate with either of you. Have a good evening.
Debate Round No. 3
3 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Posted by roman.legion 9 years ago
roman.legion
Dang, it looks like more people read these things than I realized. Or do you just know a bunch of people on this site?
Posted by roman.legion 9 years ago
roman.legion
I would welcome another debate with you. We'll just have to find a topic that is more about critical thinking and analysis, which I enjoy, than research, which I don't. It's not that I have anything against research, it is just that the evidence on topics like this is so varied (and probably wrong, too) that I prefer just not to bother with it.
Posted by Solarman1969 9 years ago
Solarman1969
This is one of the most insidious and evil arguments , along with its sister argument , abortion

It paints we humans as a problem, and the solution then is killing us or preventing our birth

It is evil, and most people fall for it

People easily are duped by the "environment" argument on a host of issues- it is the new home of the communists

dont fall for this nonsense - look at what that fool Paul Erlich the idiot said in the "Population Bomb" book of the 1970s - MORON, total MORON

News flash : the earth DOESNT HAVE FEELINGS
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