Birth Control

A central and repeatedly stated assertion of the two Quinn books I read is that at some time humans lived in a stable equilibrium. That is not a worldview, that is an assertion of fact. A particular fact that is problematic in proving, yet Quinn claims to know it is true. He actually waters it down at one point and says that human population did grow steadily before some arbitrary level of agricultural innovation, but that it was slower than in recent times. My question is: Why should I believe that modern humans ever existed in a stable equilibrium? I believe that the growth rate has not been constant, yet how could I know that the early history of humans is fundamentally different from exponential growth in which growth is relatively slow for a long time early on?

Even if we live tribally (in the sense you use the word in Beyond Civilization), aren’t we still going to crash just as fast as if we work for a hierarchical corporation? We’re still dependent on agriculture. What is to stop the new tribalism from damaging the planet just as much as civilization, provided that we’re still dependent on growing all of our own food?

When I talk to people about controlling the population of the Earth, the subject of birth control often comes up as a potential solution. I can say all I want that “birth control might work on an individual level, but it doesn’t work on a group level,” but I don’t really have any facts to back up this claim. What arguments can I put forth to back up the claim that birth control won’t work to control our population as a whole?

With regard to population, when the 6 billionth person was born, one of the writers for National Review tried to put this into perspective and reveled that if all 6 billion people lived in the state of Texas, each of them would have an eighth of an acre to him/herself. This doesn’t seem like too many people to me. Any comments?

Yes, but how are the strategies proposed in Beyond Civilization supposed to eliminate pollution, overpopulation, crime, teenage pregnancy, substance abuse, poverty, police brutality, political corruption, racism, child abuse, violence against women, homophobia, pornography, violence in film and music, exploitation of the elderly, date rape, judicial malfeasance, insider trading, road rage, and media bias?

OK, I understand that there are biological mechanisms that are inherent in species that allow them (via instinct, not awareness) to keep their populations at levels that tie in with the availability of their food supply. But what about the notion that humans can consciously choose to have or not have children as a way of population control? I contend that if we don’t use conscious awareness as a means of limiting our population, the mechanisms that other animals use (ie, those animals who do not have the same level of conscious awareness as humans) may not work or be enough.

What are your thoughts of on solving world hunger? Do you think that the earth is near reaching its carrying capacity? One view is that population growth is more in the hands of family planning organizations than in the hands of farmers because world grain outputs, etc. have not drastically increased in recent years. Do you have any resources you recommend for me looking further into possible solutions to alleviating world hunger?