Excellent points, Strega.
"Can you imagine a society where the more intelligent or better off element decides not to have children but the poorer and less educated have them all the time? Er, not looking good, is it?"
This is the premise of Mike Judge's movie, "Idiocracy" - an extrapolated view of current trends.
Which was a most entertaining film!
Strega, I agree with everything except the massive population growth. Take a look at this and Hans Rosling's video from TED. He basically says that the world will top off at 10 billion people but it will take a long time to get to that, mostly due to developing countries having fewer and fewer babies.
IT'S NOT ABOUT FUTURE SLOWED GROWTH!!!
We are so past that!
We have been overpopulated for half a century! All previous faunal extinctions on this planet were due to geological events. This extinction phase the planet's been going though the past couple of thousand years is the FIRST TIME IN EARTH's history where mass extinction is attributable to a single species instead of a geological event.
So forget about all the charts that sooth people into thinking our growth is not growing as fast as it used to, they are entirely irrelevant, this is a long standing problem we're dealing with here, which will require massive lifestyle reorganisation.
IFF... That's an acronym for what organization?
False in the short term. Biology does not devise ways to correct things. Equilibrium is a long term processes and Homo sapiens has screwed the system over by effecting our changes at such a fast pace. At this point it is unlikely that any disease could make any significant dent in our population.
Define "long term" and "fast" as it pertains to the biological processes which are valid for controlling overpopulation. HIV is certainly taking a toll in Africa, Ebola is a major threat, and you better hope next years HxNx virus isn't highly lethal (or the year after that, etc). That's not to speak of potential natural disasters, man-made war, or a breakdown in the food supply system.
Just because humans are on top of the food chain and believe ourselves to be highly intelligent doesn't mean we are no longer governed by natural processes.
Biological negative feedbacks take thousands of years, our discussion is pertaining to now.
As for geological catastrophes, certainly a meteorite could hit us tomorrow and we'd could be mostly gone, but that's neither here nor there.
We have the know-how to resist all biological natural occurrences. If any disease decimates humanity, at this point in time, it is likely that it will be unleashed and engineered by humans.
Overpopulation is when a species has more members than the carrying capacity of its environment. When overpopulation is reached, the number of members start declining, the most common causes to the decline being disease, starvation, and competition. The latter usually manifests itself in humans as warfare. Seeing as the number of humans are increasing, you have no evidence to support your claim of overpopulation.
Unless you believe humans to be divinely inspired and therefore disconnected from biological processes, that is.
Arcus, of course, if our species were naturally regulated by resources, that would be true, but we aren't. We are able to MODIFY our carrying capacity through engineering. Therefore carrying capacity is not a useful tool when discussing Homo sapiens. The next available tool is our destruction of everything around us. By the time we die, I'm assuming you're within a 10y age of myself, most large animals we take for granted will have disappeared from the planet. This human cause mass extinction is unprecedented in earth's history.