Is the human species too successful?” - Thor 19 March 2017

1. Core question: Are humans too successful as a species? Without war and disease, will we simply breed ourselves out of a food supply? Can/should populations be controlled locally and/or globally?

2. In terms of propagation, what in fact are the most successful species / organisms? [hint: e.g. a) By the most recent estimate, the human body contains about 37 trillion cells, forming a mutually dependent home for 1x to 3x the number of bacteria (Wikipedia: Human Microbiome Project)]. b) Check out things called ‘springtails’, and ants (

3. Most species do not self-destruct, but humans do regularly on small and large scales. Is self-destruction a form of species preservation (getting rid of the failures) ?

4. Humans are a highly predatory species, but they have also eliminated most of their own natural predators. Is this a measure of success?

5. Human success can be thought of in terms of individual lives, family survival, local community survival, nation or tribe survival, and species survival. Which of these levels should take priority, for whom, and when?

6. 20,000 years ago it is likely that there were only a few thousand humans on earth. Until very recently, the numbers were still fairly small and scattered, relative to the size of the earth. Now we are 7 billion and expanding, with almost unlimited power. Do the actual numbers change the definition of what might be “successful” for the human species?

7. Human success has depended upon a high level of cooperation amongst humans. However beyond the tribal level, we have great difficulty cooperating for common human good. Will this inability to cooperate amongst humans in very large numbers finally destroy the species?

8. Humans are basically a herding species. Most of them follow leaders who offer a persuasive narrative backed by force. The narrative can be easily be corrupted (e.g. by superstition, coercion, ignorance, ambition, fake news etc). If a reliable narrative is needed for human success, how can false, destructive narratives be managed?

9. Human success has depended greatly upon the human ability to innovate, adapt and learn. However, the demand on these qualities (even functional literacy & numeracy) has become so great that a large percentage of every human population is failing to master the necessary skills & knowledge. Have we come to the limits of human learning? What is the consequence for our future success?

10. We are into the 4th industrial revolution. Over about 4 generations our prospects and threats have multiplied beyond recognition. If you try to look 4 generations beyond your own condition, what do you predict for the state of humanity then?

Here is the first page of (supposedly) 58 million Google responses to “Is the human species too successful?” ->

The simple truth is that humans are too successful as a species ... › ... › World wildlife population...

Sep 30, 2014 - 1 post

We breed too fast, don't die fast enough, consume too much. Seven billion is way too much to be sustainable. In theory it is possible, but not ...

Humans May Be the Most Adaptive Species - Scientific American

Sep 25, 2013 - "But in the modern era, we know that in the human genome there are all ... Each time, though, the species bounced back, more successful and ...

Are humans the most successful species? - The Naked Scientists

Mar 2, 2009 - Man is the most successful animal on the planet in his field. ... I think man tends to praise himself on his successes all too often, we should look ...

Why has the human brain evolved so much more than any other ...

tl;dr: a lot of factors came into play at just the right time. It's misleading to say that the human ... Whatever it is, it's been very successful. The human animal exists ... Why is it that humans have evolved at a much faster pace than other animals? ... It makes childbirth much harder for humans than for other mammals, too. Human ...

The human race: success or failure? by Paul Johnson - The New ...

On the precarious survival of humanity. ... contrasts strongly with the extraordinary and continuing physical success of humanity as a species. .... The blows came tooa century or more of warfare of a new and pitiless kind, war begun in theory ...

BBC - Earth - Why are we the only human species still alive?

Sep 29, 2015 - Two million years ago in Africa, several species of human-like ... clues that reveal why some of our forebears were more successful than others.

50 Reasons Why The Human Race Is Too Stupid To Survive ...

Nov 25, 2014 - 50 Reasons Why The Human Race Is Too Stupid To Survive. By James ...... We've been just too successful with our reproductive strategy.

The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World

Bjørn Lomborg - 2001 - ‎Business & Economics

... from organizations such as Worldwatch Institute: The twentieth century has been extraordinarily successful for the human species - perhaps too successful.

Time to rethink what makes humans special | New Scientist

Dec 9, 2015 - Two books, The Secret of Our Success and The Crucible of Language, show old ... Surprisingly, culture made us the sweatiest species too.

Is the End of the World Near?: From Crackpot Predictions to ...

Ron Miller - 2011 - ‎Juvenile Nonfiction

In fact, the human population continues to increase steadily. In 2011 the population ... Perhaps the human species is too successful and too resilient. As the ...

Is the Human Species too Successful?  Discussion Questions ©Thor May 2018

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