Overpopulation: The Making of a Myth

We found the following humorous video:

enjoy, and share your thoughts with us.

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20 Responses to Overpopulation: The Making of a Myth

  1. toadspittle says:

    Well, I got the sound track (Toad the techno-incompetent) and stand by what I said.

    I remember the same thing from my schooldays, all the world could live on the Isle of Wight. the teacher said. (What a hideous prospect. Especially if you have ever been to the Isle of Wight.)
    But the reason so many people left Ireland, they told us, (mostly our relatives) was that it was then overpopulated. Too many people, for too few potatoes.

    So try telling a Somalian he comes from somewhere that’s ‘not overpopulated.’
    Someone will say that it’s all our fault for not organising things better on this planet. Well that’s quite true. A lot of things on this planet are not well organised.

    Tell that to the Somalian, as well. That will cheer him, or her, up.


  2. joyfulpapist says:

    Overpopulation = too many people for the available food and other resources.

    But people can – and do – starve amidst plenty. Right through the Irish famine, Ireland was exporting food. But that food was not available to those who were starving. So was Ireland overpopulated? Or was it oppressed? Same today with the ‘overpopulated’ parts of the world.

    As to the world as a whole being overpopulated, check out this link: http://www.city-journal.org/2010/20_1_birthrates.html

    …by the 1960s and 1970s, more and more countries started seeing their birthrates sink beneath replacement levels. Today, women in more than 60 countries, ranging from Austria, Canada, and Poland to Japan, Singapore, and South Korea, don’t bear enough children to keep the population growing. In a handful of countries, women average just one child over a lifetime, less than half the replacement rate. The fertility drop in many less developed countries hasn’t dipped below replacement levels yet, but it’s heading there fast. Over the last few decades, Mexico’s rate went from nearly seven children per woman to 2.3; Egypt’s, from just under seven to 2.72; and India’s, from nearly six to about 2.7…

    …Demographers are scrambling to adjust their population projections, with little notice in the press. In the early 1990s, United Nations researchers projected that the world’s population would reach a maximum of 10 to 12 billion people (up from about 6.7 billion today). They subsequently scaled back that projection to 9.5 billion and then to about 9.1—adding, however, that it might be as low as 7.9. But the truth is that no one knows how this massive reversal will end. The UN demographers optimistically claim that the world’s fertility rate, currently at 2.6 children per woman, will decline to replacement level and then stabilize. But there’s no clear reason for that to happen; dozens of countries have seen their rates sink far lower. In his book Fewer, Ben Wattenberg estimates that if the rate were to stop at 1.85 births per woman, the world’s population could shrink to 2.3 billion by the year 2300.”


  3. rebrites says:

    the shocking thing about this video is it refers to Texas as “a small corner of the earth.” As George Bush, Lyndon Johnson, Sam Houston, (and several more people who wear hats made of raccoons) have proved, Texas is the Center of the Universe.

    The thought of the whole population of the world living in Texas is as good a definition for Hell On Earth as I have ever seen. Do what you want with statistics, anti-overpopulation myth people, but leave Texas out of it!


  4. mmvc says:

    Well, Reb, the Isle of Wight it is then… 😉


  5. wordbobby says:

    I find in reading those sites that say that population problems are a myth that their evidence is very sparse and inconclusive. Recently I read Book 1 of the free e-book series “In Search of Utopia” (http://andgulliverreturns.info), it blasts their lack of evidence relative to their calling overpopulation a myth. The book, actually the last half of the book, takes on the skeptics in global warming, overpopulation, lack of fresh water, lack of food, and other areas where people deny the evidence. I strongly suggest that anyone wanting to see the whole picture read the book, at least the last half.
    The outdated fertility replacement rate of 2.1 is also clarified.


  6. Brother Burrito says:

    Hello wordbobby,

    I looked at your link, and, assuming you are not trying to be ironic, I have to disagree. The world, as it is, is not overpopulated. It is just badly run. There is ample resource for all people, if only there were less greed and waste. There must be a minimum standard of living declared for all folk on this planet. Any shortfall must be funded by all those who exist above this standard. All the corrupt mechanisms of power, and systems of waste must be tackled urgently to assist in this redistribution.

    Solidarity: the real sense that every human being alive (and dead, or as yet unborn), is your brother or sister.

    Subsidiarity: that all societal power must be devolved to the lowest practicable point where it can be effective.

    Those last two are at the heart of Catholic social teaching, and are palpably wise to all people of common sense.

    “Reducing population” is something to be used against cockroaches and pigeons, not the sons and daughters of Eve.

    I trust you are neither a pigeon or cockroach!


  7. joyfulpapist says:

    Wordbobby, the text in that document you linked to discusses the 2.1 replacement rate, as you say, but shows a poor grasp of what the 2.1 means, or of basic mathematics.

    It fails to note that in countries where people have a longer life expectancy the date of first childbirth is delayed and people have fewer children.

    It also fails to note that any effect of longer life expectancy is for one cycle only, even if the cycle is of five generations rather than three.


  8. toadspittle says:


    might as well save his breath for whistling Dixie on CP&S, regarding overpopulation. And Toad might as well do the same. But, what the heck.

    The fact is, that this is all a matter of semantics. And Catholics will insist that there is no overpopulation on the planet. (Dogma, Toad supposes.) Just a bit 0f temporary ‘overcrowding’ from time to time and from place to place. Just a question of a massive redistribution of all global resources between a lot of nations who all hate each other. No problem!

    That Sub-Saharan Africans cram themselves into rotten, leaking old ‘pateras’ and risk (and, more often that not, lose) their lives trying to get to Europe, not because they are starving where they live, but because they feel a sea cruise will make a nice break.

    And as we read in today’s vulgar newpspapers, Brazilians who would rather live in dangerous slums, which have now been washed away killing, at least 450 and rendering many thousands homeless, do so not because they have no alternative, but because they enjoy the cozy and convivial company of a ‘favela’ to a nice little semi in Surbiton, where nobodylknows their neighbours.

    Toad would also suggest that as of today, even certain parts of Australia are overpopulated.
    Unless, of course you enjoy living under twelve feet of muddy water, as many of our brothers and sisters clearly do.

    To put it another way: If the world gets, and stays, too hot (or even too cold, or too wet) for human life to cope with, the planet will be ‘overpopulated’ even if there are only a dozen people on it.

    It’s just a way of looking at things, really.

    And sure, there’s absolutely masses of room on Earth. So ‘we’ can take all the homeless Somalians and Brazilians and Australians and issue them all with wooly hats, gloves and scarves knitted by kind Catholics in Surbiton, and ‘re-settle’ them in Antartica – a very ‘underpopulated’ place.
    It’s easy – and Burro can be in charge! He’s got it all figured out – a perfect Catholic world where everyone is nice and kind and charitable to everyone else, just like in the Middle Ages.
    Except that has never happened for a moment (even then!), is not happening now, and never will happen.

    Because it is utterly unfeasable, even with the best will in the world. Which nobody, except Burro and Joyful. has got.

    We must, in fact, leave the perceived ‘problem’ of overcrowding to God. He can and will, and indeed does, solve it from time to time with his celestial ‘pruning-forks’ of floods, earthquakes and malaria, and the like.
    Not our business to meddle!

    (There, now. Was all that a waste of Toad’s time? Absolutely!)


  9. joyfulpapist says:

    Actually, I apologise to Dr Pianka. I found the text of the infamous speech, and he isn’t recommending killing 90% of the world’s population, he’s just saying that civilisation is about to collapse, 90% of the world’s population will die in the collapse, and the world will be better off as a result.


  10. toadspittle says:

    You were right the first time, Joyful.

    Leave mass destruction to God, not Texans! Chacon a son gout!

    If God wants to reduce the population of the weorld by 90 per cent, who are we to argue? He’s done it before. He can do it again, Texans or no Texans.

    Whatever happens will be all for the best – in the best of all possible worlds!


  11. joyfulpapist says:

    What I would like, of course, is for people to treat others as they would like to be treated.

    But we live in a world where 20% of the people use 80% of the resources, and a third of the people live below the absolute poverty line (that is, are unable to afford any two of nutrition, clean water, shelter, clothing, medical care, or education). And those that have will kill those who have not to keep what they have.

    This is not only unfair and wrong, it is also stupid. It will lead to Dr Pianka’s world of massive plagues, because those who live in absolute poverty provide the right conditions for mutations in disease organisms. The plagues won’t respect borders, and they won’t mind killing the rich along with the poor.

    And when it does, people will blame God. But they will be wrong. It will have been people all along.


  12. toadspittle says:

    Toad agrees with every word Joyful says.

    And he won’t blame God, no matter what happens!

    (But he will point out that the scenario she depicts is the one we have enjoyed in this, the best of all possible worlds, since Day One (or maybe Day Two) and it is clearly the one we are going to enjoy until Day Zero. Which may not be that far off.

    The fat cats may be businessmen and politicians now, instead of popes, bishops, sultans and kings and princes, but – as she so rightly indicates, the result is the same the poor always get the sticky end.
    God’s will, we have to suppose.


  13. toadspittle says:

    It strikes Toad – that some people’s ideas of putting This Naughty Old World, Full Of Wicked Old People, Bang To Rights is rather like Toad’s infallible way of making money backing racehorses: Only back winners.


  14. toadspittle says:

    It further strikes Toad, that – by Joyful’s diagnosis, The Black Death for instance, was, ’caused by people all along.’

    Interesting, if true. Move over, rats!


  15. joyfulpapist says:

    The vector was fleas on rats, Toad, to be precise.

    The cause was a particular strain of Yersinia bacteria, originally a harmless inhabitant of the gut of a flea, but – due a genetic mutation perhaps as recently as 5,000 years ago (in Egypt, according to recent research) – this strain migrated upwards to cause a plug of bacteria in the upper gut, which is passed on to the victim when the flea feeds.


  16. joyfulpapist says:

    And the human contribution to plague is to provide conditions in which rats and fleas thrive.


  17. toadspittle says:

    So, Joyful…

    It’s the fleas, not the rats..or, most probably probably the humans – for not washing their hands after using the bathroom – that are responsible.

    Fine. Just as long as it’s not God. Nothing to do with Him.

    He just ‘doesn’t prevent’ bad things.

    Her’s going to be awfully pleased with you, when your soul arrives ‘up there’.

    And so He should be.

    ‘PR’ of the most amazing quality.


  18. toadspittle says:


    …there is the thought that fleas, along with rats and humans – and even toads – are all God’s little helpers.

    Along with the plague itself, of course.

    Helps to keep things interesting in the best of all possible worlds, no doubt.


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