Comments about ‘Overpopulation? We should be so lucky’

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Published: Thursday, Feb. 7 2013 12:00 a.m. MST

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John C. C.
Payson, UT

Consider two island nations:

Population in Madagascar - about 22 million.
Population in Japan - about 127 million.

Madagascar has more land, many more natural resources, and more of its land is suitable for agriculture. It should be very prosperous, but isn't.

Japan, however, has thrived with little agricultural land and no other natural resources except for fish. And people.

It's not how many people or how many resources. It's behavior.

I bet the future belongs to those who value their children.


It's no surprise to me that the birth rate in the US is dropping. Look at the recession. Look at how expensive student loan debt is. Look at how expensive housing is and ever stagnating wages. Look at how we don't value mothers in society. Young women who want to have children are expected to work (especially in Utah with our above average participation of mothers in the workforce) and maternity leave is unpaid and short! Is it any wonder young couples aren't having children? I keep hearing they are selfish, but I think it has to do more with college loan debt, troubling economic times and maternal policies in the US that aren't very fair to Mother's. It takes two families working to pay the bills these days. There are a lot of exhausted young people out there today. Having children is out of reach for them and they are smart enough not to bring a child into the world they cannot support.

The Real Maverick
Orem, UT

What is this? Like the 5th editorial on this subject in the past 2 days?

I'm so glad the Dnews is spending time on this issue instead of focusing on real issues that really matter to Utahns. You folks are doing a fantastic job of ignoring our state's pitiful education spending, ethics laws, and the ongoing investigation of John Swallow.


Two things come to mind that might be exacerbating the problem for families trying to make ends meet, and thus putting downward pressure on the birth rate:

1. Many of us in the US have expectations of a high standard of living. We don't want to go without cable TV, smart phones, newer cars, larger homes, etc. Higher taxes aren't helping, either. Money management seems to be a lost art. As jrgl pointed out, stress over $ is a disincentive to bearing children.

2. The supply curve may also be working against us. As women who would have been stay-at-home mothers have instead entered the worforce, the supply of workers has gone up. This would put downward pressure on wages, meaning fathers earn a little less or can't get a job, so the mother has to help earn $. I am in no way blaming women here: only pointing out that the transition to two-income households may have had this unintended side effect.

Res Novae
Ashburn, VA

This believing member of the dominant Utah faith finds no small irony in the accusation that being concerned with overpopulation is pushing a "theological belief." Even LDS teachings have gone generally silent on birth control for the past generation.

Malthus wasn't wrong, he just had no way to know of technological advances in agriculture that would alter his predictions. But those advances haven't eliminated the earth's carrying capacity - just elevated it. The next advance may be right around the corner. Or it may not. The trouble with technological leaps is their unpredictability.

The article rightly points out the impact of falling below the replacement rate. But trying to correct that issue carries its own set of consequences that cannot be so easily dismissed.

Ogden, UT

Res Novae,
I think your comment is the best one so far on this thread. Nicely written and lacking the irritation that characterizes my posts.

To people like Mr. Evensen, there are no negative consequences of increasing population. This ignorance is the product of a lifetime of unquestioning adherence to a religious/cultural practice, combined with isolation from the impact that a growing consumption-oriented population has on human health and the planet's ecosystems. Apparently it is not enough to point out the specific economic difficulties associated with a rapidly aging population. The entire concept of carrying capacity, resource scarcity, quality of human life, and right of other species to exist must be dismissed out of hand.

The Atheist
Provo, UT

bandersen blames the lowered fertility rate on atheists?

Give it a rest. Such an attacking, angry, and false diatribe is unbecoming.

Saint George, UT

The athiest. I wasn't angry at all. I believe that an athiestic view of the world leads to false conclusions about the future, including 'overpopulation.' Athiests, despite an intellectual curiosity, are burdens to society, much like uncharitable welfare recipients. Rather than becoming productive members of society, athiests spend their days thinking about 'their' universe and not much else. The future of a society depend upon those who believe in a future, not a dead end! Athiests, therefore, are to be pitied and reminded, perhaps without sublety, that coexistence requires a belief in something, rather than nothing. Those who believe in nothing are a burden to those who believe in something. Calmly stated, without anger, and with reasoned clarity.

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

If we look at demographics, probably the largest percentage of atheists (by profession) would be found in the scientific community. If we include being an agnostic in the mix, the percentage is well above 90%. Are these the “burdens to society” you were referring to?

And contrary to your bizarre assertion (atheists believe in nothing), most atheists and agnostics I know believe in a whole range of things – like logic, reason, compassion, good will, peaceful co-existence, not to mention future oriented things like knowledge, science, human achievement, the ability to better ourselves and the world, the list is quite long actually…

What they don’t believe in is, magic, the supernatural (and beings who can suspend it), superstition, dogmatic thinking of all kinds (religious being perhaps the most dangerous), exclusive ways of knowing (seers, prophets, etc…), sacred books, and perhaps most important, that the world is somehow bad & temporary and the faster it is destroyed (in a “prophesized” apocalypse) the better.

Not sure those are the sorts of beliefs that will promote the coexistence you claim atheists are incapable of.

Saint George, UT

Tyler, How can logic, reason, compassion, good will, peaceful co-existence, knowledge, science, and human achievement mean much when all of the aforementioned attributes aren't relevant to athiesm? If there is no God, there is no compassion, reason, or logic? Logically, if my neighbor has something I want, why would I stop myself from taking it? I want it? If I am being compassionate, wouldn't taking from him/her be the compassionate thing to do, sense all it does is make him/her cranky, ornery, and possessive? The long trail of human existence informs me of the need to not steal? Says who? This is about my definition of logic, reason, and compassion, is it not? Compassion, logic, reason, peaceful coexistence come from somewhere, but they certainly don't originate with an athiest!

Tyler D
Meridian, ID

@ bandersen – “If there is no God, there is no compassion, reason, or logic”

Prove it.

And don’t put the question back on me. You are the one making a positive assertion (not me) so the burden of proof is entirely on you (just like it would be if you believed in Santa Claus and I did not).

I could not make sense of anything else you wrote, and in fact while reading it felt like I had fallen down a strange Wittgensteinian rabbit hole where it is possible to meet creatures who adhere to completely different laws of logic & reason.

Last response… reached my comment limit.

Ogden, UT

bandersen is using the unfounded belief that only those people who believe in mythology can possibly embrace basic human morality. Like many adherents to mythology, he also believes all good in humanity originated solely in his belief system. Just because you have a story of stone tablets etched with ten commandments doesn't mean that many of those moral principles began and ended with your religion.

He believes his own caricature of atheists even though it has no grounding in reality. All those positive human attributes are not relevant to atheism? What is he talking about? How are they relevant to God, then? There is no coherent thesis, no respectable logic, only wandering through the rhetorical desert, casting aspersions at straw men.

West Valley City, UT

merich39. Pyramid scheme you say? Welcome to Social Security.

Saint George, UT

If I am a Christian, then I can either be compassionate or not compassionate, but I can always turn to Christ for the attribute. If I am an athiest, where do I turn to define compassion? I have no doubt that athiests have many admirable traits, perhaps just as much or more so than a Christian. However, those traits did not come from the athiest theology, where ever that springs. It is purely humanity an athiest depends on, without principle or standard, except for whatever private interpretation that may be! Not the future I want for anyone.

Salt Lake City, UT

"I believe that an athiestic view of the world leads to false conclusions about the future, including 'overpopulation.'"

I don't need to be an atheist (and I'm not, I'm a Christian) to realize that our increasing conflict with Nevada over limited water resources suggests that overpopulation can become a problem in parts of the world that don't have the resources to support such a population (arguably there are parts of the world where it already is, like Bangladesh).

"Athiests, despite an intellectual curiosity, are burdens to society"

Well that's just rude...

"Logically, if my neighbor has something I want, why would I stop myself from taking it? "

One can be moral without being theist. New Hampshire is the most atheist state in the nation but has the lowest crime rates (I pick crime because that's a nationwide standard that everyone is subject to). That wouldn't be the case if atheism made people completely non-caring about basic morals.

"If I am an athiest, where do I turn to define compassion?"

Role models. Same as Christians do. Christians consider Jesus (among other things) to be a role model.

kearns, UT

Faith is fine, but please refer to science when commenting on a scientific matter. There are more then 297000 google listings and over 300000 Bing listings for studies and materials regarding over population. To imply that there are few credible studies and that we are all going to be ok is to ignor imperical evidence and mock the god that gave you our earth.

Phillip M Hotchkiss
Malta, Mt

If we had no such thing as crp ( goverment paying farmers not to grow.) No one in any country should starv. Look around and see.all the farms just sitting . The planet can grow enough to support all .its just goverment got to big. 70% of the farms here are in crp. Who does the help? When i was growing up my family were all farmers and ranchers from both family felt crp will be the demise of our country. We were growing to much food. That they could not sell it .So the goverment payed them not to grow. dont sell it it or have the goverment pay the farmers to grow it and give it to the needy. All.would be helped those who are hungry, and those who have land will have a purpose. Stored wheat and grain can last years.

Syracuse, UT

Crime rates remind me of too many fish in a fish bowl.

The Scientist
Provo, UT

Last is up in the night trying to light a fire without a match, using nothing but hot air.

Although today's fertility is lower, at 1.93, it is higher than it was in the mid-’70s (bottomed out at 1.74), and has mostly risen since then.

Immigration and "demographic momentum" (a large proportion of the population in prime reproductive years) are projected to offset lower fertility rates.

But Last does not like immigration. What he is ultimately arguing for is more homegrown American babies! It is difficult to hide Last's racial innuendo, as well as partisan propaganda.

Last blames declining fertility on increasing levels of higher education (which delays marriage and makes it more costly to raise a child); the liberation of women; the spread of contraception; and shifting social norms related to premarital sex and cohabitation (which have broken the religious link between sex, marriage and childbearing).

In short, Last is subtly arguing for turning back the clock on these advances, and offering pathetic quixotic Band-Aids instead. His blindness comes from staring with inflated nostalgia into the rear-view mirror of our history.

SLC gal
Salt Lake City, UT

Look at all the people who are gay - They're not producing children through natural means (generally. Those couplings usually lack some neccesary equipment.)

Look at the number of children in third world countries who don't live to see the age of five.

Look at all the people in China who are only allowed 1 child.

The trend in the US is for women to start having kids in their 40's - once fertility starts to decline.

Simple mathmatics would prove the world is certainly shrinking.

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