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.
I think it was a Todd Akin joke. (It made me crack a smile at least).
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.
Carrying capacity is equally valid for humans as any other species. We do indeed have the tools required to adapt the carrying capacity, but we have always had it, and it is exactly what has made us successful as a species. We are a highly adaptable species, but then again, there are other species which share this trait. The point is that we have always struggled with limited resources, but the resources we require have changed. 100 years ago we were running out of wood, today we are running out of oil, and in 100 years we'll be running out of something else.
While I haven't lived too long, I have learned that predictions about the future almost inevitably fails. I recall that prediction from a science mag circa 1990, which predicted extinction within a generation. That would be around 2020, and I believe it was next to the expected flying car and cure for cancer in the same time frame...
Carrying capacity is equally valid for humans as any other species. We do indeed have the tools required to adapt the carrying capacity, but we have always had it, and it is exactly what has made us successful as a species.
And isn't it true that, in many cases if not all, what makes it successful tends to be its downfall? The predator is so successful it runs out of prey, the herbivore strips the land of foliage, etc.
Also, I think I can fairly safely predict that when we run out of oil, we're screwed, unless we find a way to make synthetic petroleum in almost unimaginable quantities without squandering some other resource.
To say carrying capacity is the only tool to measure human overpopulation is missing the point. We must use a different tool, other wise it becomes a circular argument, if looking strictly at CC, threshold of overpopulation simply follows along. It's not helpful to this debate. We are not overpopulated because we've exceeded our CC, we're overpopulated because of the downfall of the rest of the ecosystem, as well as the downfall of our quality of life.
If you insist on looking only at CC, then we will never be overpopulated, which is the religion economists follow, because they don't understand about the biosphere balance.
To stay with the abortion topic, sure, if there were only 1000 Homo sapiens on the planet, I might disagree with abortion, but that's a very different situation.
@Unseen: A species successful in its niche tends to thrive, not be eliminated. When a species becomes unsuccessful it evolves or dies out. Oil is used because it's cheap and convenient, but that doesn't mean there isn't a substantial number of complimentary sources of energy. In a longer term I would hedge my bets on algae and CCS technology.
@T A A: Which means that you are arguing for humans having a special place in nature and isn't governed by the same laws which apply to other species a point which I disagree on. Carrying capacity can be easily defined but is virtually impossible to measure, and it tends to be an ex-post observation after a population crash. To say that humans are causing the downfall of the entire ecosystem is hyperbolic at best. While we have certainly had a major impact on the ~7.5% of the Earths surface we currently utilize is undeniable, that still leaves 92.5%% which has been left largely alone. Seeing as more humans than ever is enjoying the highest quality of life ever in history, the evidence is against you. I wasn't aware economists were following a religion - I must have missed that part - and I do believe my previous professor had some knowledge on the subject, seeing as he wrote the book on it.
It seems as if you guys are utilizing religious concepts of original sin and armageddon, seeing as everything touched by humans seems to be inherently flawed and that we are causing downfall/doom/destruction on the planet.