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February 13, 2007

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Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A.

Please respond to the following question. Your assistance could be significant.

What do you suppose billions of fertile young people, who are expected to be capable of reproducing in the middle of this century, will be doing with their sexual instincts and drives other than what human beings have been doing during the past several thousand years?

Please, kindly take a moment to explain what you expect will occur that results in the consensually validated forecast indicating stabilization of absolute population numbers of the human species on Earth in the year 2050, given the fully anticipated young age distribution of a global population of 9+/-billion people at that time.

Thanks,

Steve Salmony

John Feeney

Steve,

I'd like to hear you elaborate a bit on this line:

"Please, kindly take a moment to explain what you expect will occur that results in the consensually validated forecast indicating stabilization of absolute population numbers of the human species on Earth in the year 2050, given the fully anticipated young age distribution of a global population of 9+/-billion people at that time."

I think the "consensus" on what's going to happen with population growth is, in large part, a misnomer. At least, when you read the UN population report, it is filled with cautions not to take their "projections" as predictions. They caution that they are merely scenarios to examine, given past data, and that they really can't predict what will happen with any confidence at all. Yet it seems almost everyone takes them as predictions or "best guesses." Not a good thing. I wrote about that here:

http://growthmadness.org/2007/01/13/the-un-population-report-misunderstood-and-misused/

I'd be interested in your take on that, as it appears you've been looking seriously at the population issue for some time. I think we're in agreement about it, and as far as I know Dave agrees with you as well.

John Feeney

Dave,

I'm going to follow the link to read the article, but from the quote you provided it reminds me a bit of the psychological testing in which I was trained years ago. There is no one test which can provide the complete picture of a patient, though some do better than others. To get a fuller picture, a psychologist administers a battery of several tests, each emphasizing a different area of personality, cognitive functioning, etc. It's probably not a perfect analogy, but maybe it's similar with these indicators and other tools to assess financial/ecological factors. Maybe there could even be developed a standard collection of indicators and such which would be accepted as providing the best overall picture. I'm just wildly speculating really, as I don't know much about the topic. But the analogy came immediately to mind. :)

Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A.

Dear John and Dave,

Perhaps the widely shared and generally accepted ideas, beliefs and theories of many demographers regarding the "end of human population growth soon" or the "stabilization of absolute global human population numbers in the middle of Century 21" are products of preternaturalism, faulty reasoning, contrived logic and specious argument.

That good, unchallenged, peer-reviewed scientific evidence from Russell Hopfenberg, Ph.D. and David Pimentel, Ph.D. remains marginalized and all but universally ignored in the year 2007 seems both incomprehensible and unacceptable to me. Do scientists not have “duties to perform” by commenting on new scientific research? Experts in human population numbers have remained unexpectedly, uniformly and unprofessionally silent since the publication of this groundbreaking work on human population dynamics in 2001.

In circumstances in which silence is allowed to prevail and become an actual enemy of science, how are people to distinguish between good science and mad science?

Sincerely,

Steve

PS: THANKS TO BOTH OF YOU FOR THIS RARE OPPORTUNTIY TO DIALOGUE ABOUT EMERGING SCIENCE.

Dave Iverson

SES: "That good, unchallenged, peer-reviewed scientific evidence ... remains marginalized and all but universally ignored ... seems both incomprehensible and unacceptable to me. Do scientists not have 'duties to perform' by commenting on new scientific research?"

Welcome to the era of the 'Multiversity,' and more, where people can hide out in their little ideological/methodological boxes and ignore any "incoming projectiles" from warring camps.

SES: "In circumstances in which silence is allowed to prevail and become an actual enemy of science, how are people to distinguish between good science and mad science?"

That is the promise, just emerging, of the Internet, blogs, etc. A promise, that is, only if it isn't compromised by "power," else if we-the-people don't fall into the Aldous Huxley trap of BRAVE NEW WORLD REVISITED, as pushed further by Neil Postman in AMUSING OURSELVES TO DEATH: PUBLIC DISCOURSE IN THE AGE OF SHOW BUSINESS, among other such works that tell us not to be seduced by "entertainment" into losing our public selves.

Steven Earl Salmony, Ph.D., M.P.A.

Dear Dave,

Thanks for being there just as you are. After years in the virtual wilderness, I have begun to feel lonely. Not that that matters. My feelings are not the issue, or my advanced age. But I am coming to believe that the future of my children and the children of my peers are unexpectedly in the hands of my not-so-great generation of self-absorbed elders who are failing their children and coming generations at every turn.

With the hope that necessary behavior changes will occur in certain distinctly human global overgrowth activities --- increasing per human consumption, seemingly endless economic expansion, and unbridled reproduction --- that are adamantly insisted upon by the elders of our species, I remain

Yours truly,

Steve

Steven Earl Salmony

Given the interconnectedness of human organisms and other organisms in complex ecosystems, what about grandiose human perceptions indicates to us that the human species is somehow assured evolutionary success and not subject to the recognizable fate of species known to be moving toward extinction?

Let us imagine for a moment that the current scale of per human consumption, economic globalization and propagation of the human species, when taken together, are occurring synergistically and producing an overwhelming adverse impact on natural resources, ecosystem services and the integrity of Earth. Would reasonable and prudent people not choose at a minimum to consider how FURTHER UNBRIDLED INCREASES of per capita consumption, seemingly endless big business expansion and human reproduction could be sensibly and humanely restrained?

What preposterous combination of hubris, contrived logic, faulty reasoning, political convenience and economic expediency could be taking humankind down a "primrose path" to a patently unsustainable future for our children?

At least one real issue before the human species is certain global overgrowth activities of the human population. When will scientists examine, for example, virtual mountains of data indicating that the infinite growth of industrial activities in a finite world cannot be maintained much longer by a small planet the size of Earth?

What, pray tell me, did the leaders at the WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM in Davos, Switzerland DO that could conceivably achieve MDG goals, Kyoto standards and a sustainable global economic structure in a timely manner, one that ensures a good enough future for our children?

Dave Iverson

SES: "Would reasonable and prudent people not choose...?" Where do we find such in times of cultural madness? Why would you expect a SANE SOCIETY to use Erich Fromm's frame?

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