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back to article United Nations: 'Overpopulated Earth? Time to EAT BUGS'

World population is slated to top nine billion by 2050, and seeing as how arable land is being rapidly swallowed by towns and cities, oceans are increasingly overfished, and climate change is disrupting traditional farming, a new United Nations study proposes a twist on Marie Antoinette's dietary advice: let them eat bugs. " …

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WTF?

Or...

..start treating breeders like the ignorant selfish people that they are rather than congratulating them on another nail in the planet's coffin.

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JDX
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Re: Or...

Congratulations on making the UN not seem like the crazies, no mean feat.

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Re: Or...

Quite right. The overpopulation problem doesn't exist and people ignoring facts aren't stupid and selfish after all. My mistake.

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Re: Or...

An unhealthy interest in the reproductive habits of others is the hallmark of the eugenicist, be he avowed or otherwise. As such, does it not concern you that Western societies in general already reproduce below replacement rate? Evidently not, to judge your invective on the subject in its context. To reiterate and expand upon another commenter's well-made point: congratulations on making the social engineers behind this report look good in comparison! While their beliefs are no less abhorrent than yours, at least they manage a certain degree of consistency.

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Boffin

@RonWheeler - Re: Or...

"The overpopulation problem doesn't exist".

Of course it does, but you appear to be offering the solution of eliminating the breeders by some form or other instead of *educating* people which history has shown to be an effective way to be the way to reduce reproduction rates.

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Re: Or...

Get ye to the pulpit sirrah with thy fine invective!

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FAIL

Re: @RonWheeler - Or...

'you appear to be offering the solution of eliminating the breeders by some form or other'

No I wasn't. Go build another straw man.

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Re: @RonWheeler - Or...

Ron Wheeler: 'Ye' is an extremely archaic form of the second-person plural nominative, identical in meaning to modern "you all" or "y'all"; your use of it here is just plain wrong. 'Sirrah' constitutes a direct insult, or would do were I to assume any actual knowledge of the word on your part, which assumption would clearly be erroneous. 'Thy' is an archaic, highly informal version of the second-person singular possessive; it is today commonly found only among ignorant Renaissance Faire types and Quakers of the "plain speech" ilk, of whom the less said the better. Your implication of religious faith on my part, while accurate, fails to sustain the implicit obloquy with which you strive to invest it.

Permit me humbly to suggest, as one who is a somewhat accomplished prose-stylist to one who is not, that you bone up on the forms in question, before further befouling yourself in public with their profligate abuse; as an acceptable second best, you might at least confine yourself to addressing the substance of my statement, rather than committing another embarrassment along the line of your most recent effort. Should you find yourself capable of neither task, you would be well advised, if rather unlikely, to conform your behavior to Switzer's maxim.

To address what I will, solely for the sake of discussion, dignify as your response to Marsden: You absolutely do suggest the elimination of what you so charmingly call "breeders". That you do not, yet, suggest they be punished with fire and the sword for procreating, but rather merely ostracized and shunned for their notional ignorance and selfishness, does not in any way preclude the suggestion that they be suppressed by more positive means. Speaking with an eye to history, something else which I suspect you lack, "mere" ostracism tends rarely to remain so; a belief as uncompromising as yours, after all, is unlikely in the extreme to find itself capable of, much less satisfied with, "out of sight, out of mind".

Graham Marsden: You imply causation where none is known to exist; at most, it has been demonstrated that, among some cohorts in some societies, women who have further advanced their education will tend to have fewer children. The strength and generality of this correlation remain, at least to my knowledge, uncertain in the extreme, to say nothing of whether any causal mechanism has been demonstrated; while I'll grant my lack of specific interest in the field might have betrayed me in the former question, I very much doubt an answer exists for anything remotely resembling the latter.

As you demonstrate yourself a eugenicist of the same stripe as our common interlocutor, may I pose you the same question I did him? Perhaps you'll offer the meaningful answer he couldn't. As one who feels himself qualified to render an opinion on the relative value of whole societies' sexual behavior, does it not concern you that Western societies already reproduce well below replacement rate? Your preferred means of population control -- that is, positive eugenics through the increased availability of higher education, something applicable only to societies sufficiently affluent to consider such increase -- suggests not, which inspires a certain curiosity on my part, as to the basis of your evident wish further to dis-privilege the world's most advanced and capable societies in the reproductive stakes. Have I perhaps mistaken you? If so, I eagerly await correction; if not, I likewise await satisfaction.

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Re: @RonWheeler - Or...

"Of course it does, but you appear to be offering the solution of eliminating the breeders by some form or other instead of *educating* people which history has shown to be an effective way to be the way to reduce reproduction rates."

We can educate people to reduce reproduction but then religion promotes reproduction. The net result is the educated breed less and the believers of magical sky fairies who grants wishes breed more. Less smart people and more dumb people.

We're fighting a losing battle...

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Boffin

Re: @RonWheeler - Or...

"No I wasn't. Go build another straw man."

A Straw Man argument involves exaggerating or misrepresenting someone else's argument. Since your entire argument so far appears to be "start treating breeders like the ignorant selfish people that they are" without any more details, there isn't anything there *to* misrepresent other than a vague statement, hence why I expressed an opinion about what *appears* to be your position.

If you would actually care to clarify your statement instead of just accusing others of "ignoring facts", it might help me to counter it.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @RonWheeler - Or...

"We're fighting a losing battle..."

Certainly not. With Arron Em's ability to pontificate at a level which equals poetic rapture, a topic is never complete until the orgasm has been reached.

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Re: Or...

I assume that governments encourage overpopulation because it means cheaper labour.

On the news today, I hear reports of some ludicrous number of homes which need to be built over the next few decades - a lot of them on land occupied by various endangered species. This cannot go on indefinitely. It makes the world a less pleasant place.

Tie a knot in it, fellas.

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Boffin

@Aaron Em - Re: @RonWheeler - Or...

I almost missed your remarks to me since they were below the "expand comment" and it was only that I happened to spot my surname (why only my surname "Em"?) that caused me to read the rest of your post after a lot of tedious and irrelevant pontification about the use of English.

In any case, in response to your remark "You imply causation where none is known to exist", a simple search on the "relationship between education and birth rate" would have shown you that causation is most certainly known to exist, for instance: "A women's educational level is the best predictor of how many children she will have, according to a new study from the National Center for Health Statistics, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, based on an analysis of 1994 birth certificates, found a direct relationship between years of education and birth rates, with the highest birth rates among women with the lowest educational attainment."

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/97facts/edu2birt.htm

(There are plenty more references below that one, too.)

As for your claim that I am a eugenecist of *any* type, let alone that of RonWheeler, you show yourself to be equally lacking in knowledge on this subject.

Eugenics, from the Greek word eu (good or well) and the suffix -genēs (born), stems from a desire to "improve" the human race either by weeding out the "unfit" or encouraging the "best" to reproduce, neither of which I have supported, do support or ever will support.

Reducing the birth rate by improving education has *nothing* to do with Eugenics and if you think that increased education is only available to affluent societies or that it is some how "dis-privilegeing" societies you simply demonstrate even more ignorance of the subjects under discussion.

Ironically it was RonWheeler who accused *me* of using Straw Man arguments...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Or...

Yes, what a shame your parents did not hold your beliefs.

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Re: @Aaron Em - @RonWheeler - Or...

Mr. Marsden: Your point regarding my use of names is well taken, and I have remedied the laxness in which it originated. Unfortunately, in every other point under consideration, your analysis leaves everything to be desired.

You don't merely confuse correlation with causation; you fail to recognize them as distinct entities, an error not evident in the paper you cite, and which I am therefore forced to assume originates in sloppy habits of thought on your part. You are several hundred years too late to get away with pre-Copernicanism, sir; I urge you to update your understanding of science.

You further attempt argumentum ad solum radicem to deflect my charge of eugenicist belief on your part, despite your having blithely assumed the existence of an ideal human breeding habit, on your way to a flat declaration that you know the means of accomplishing same; if I am culpable of any error in that regard, it is in classing you a eugenicist rather than a dysgenicist, clarification of which question I sought to elicit by the response at which you see fit to sneer.

Then, of course, you accuse me not merely of ignorance, but of argumentum ad effigiem. While our past disputations have left me with a rather low opinion of your intellectual acuity, they lie far enough behind us that I had hoped better of you now. I must say, sir, you have done masterfully well in frustrating that hope, if sadly in no other regard.

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This idea that western societies are dieing out due to low reproduction is total satistical voodoo.

First let have a reasonable sample size of more than a couple of generations, you can take a couple of data points on a graph and declare a clear trend, so lets say since the 1950s..

Are there less people in any european country than in 1950?

I can't think of one, .. nope can't so lets say In the vast majority of cases no.

But oh, .. This is due to immigration you say, so while they're might be more people in germany than in 1950s allot of them are turks, and the germans don't like to acknowledge the turks, but this is bull as well as there's emigration as well.

Are they less people of germans descent world wide than there was in 1950? well no, and this stands for italians and greeks and the irish and scandinavians and even the basque. ... There is not a single major western national or ethenic group that hasn't increased it population base since the 1950s.

Yes ... Some areas in europe have a declining birth rate of the traditional population who stay there .. Why? Cause in allota places in europe there isn't much reason to start a family as pretty much all the land and allot of the jobs are already taken, ... So people move, and then have babies, or wait til thier grandparents or parents die and then have babies, .. Or just hang arround, ... And then have babies... Theirs an awful lot of europeans in the world, ... And that number has not been going down.

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Re: Or...

Ron, you do understand these "breeders" you speak of are just like all other people and that basically means they are cattle. They run around doing what they think is in their best interest and it doesn't matter if that is going forth and multiplying, producing enough offspring so that maybe some of them will survive long enough to take care of them or sanctimoniously berating anyone who doesn't agree with them. We're all just so much cattle even the self-important ones who think they are more equal than others.

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Re: @RonWheeler - Or...

Overpopulation will not be a problem. We can feed the people that we expect to see on this planet.

We will not, however, feed them using inefficient mass produced food that counts profit and the market over actual production.

Either grow some food yourself or check out local allotments and see just how much quality food can be grown and compare that with the best mass produced food. OK it needs a few more people to get that kind of productivity - but what was the bloody problem again???

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Or... overpopulation is a myth?

I invite you to see what you make of this...

http://overpopulationisamyth.com/

:)

(and don't shoot the messenger please, I provide the link as a talking point)

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Re: @RonWheeler - Or...

"Either grow some food yourself ...."

I'm glad I am not living on the food I grow myself.

Last autumn I would've had a feast on:

- A handful of potatoes

- A couple of spring onions

- The remains of the broccoli that the caterpillars left

- Withered pea stems

- Dead strawberry plants

- Spinach. Or, at least I think it was, and not a weed....

I would've starved over the extended winter, and this years batch is only getting planted now, seeing as the snow decided to remain with us until April.

Come the revolution, I'm doomed. Better stock up on tinned grub and pot noodles...

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Put your money where your mouth is

Have you sterilised yourself, and are you now making plans for your own tidy suicide?

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@Aaron Miller - Re: @Aaron Em - @RonWheeler - Or...

Am I supposed to be impressed by more of your pontification? Let alone your arguments ad hominem?

You accuse me of confusion, but that confusion only exists because of the completely erroneous assumptions you make all through your diatribe, assigning motivations and beliefs to me that I do not hold and have never held.

You claim I fail to recognise the difference between correlation and causation, yet a look back through my posts in El Reg would reveal that this something which I have often commented upon, so how can I get it right all those times, yet suddenly get it wrong now? Or perhaps the error is not mine.

Equally, the assumption of "an ideal human breeding habit" is yours, not mine. I have not said, nor would I that this is "ideal", merely that it is better than the situation that exists where poor education standards are shown to correlate with higher birth rates.

And, yes, I most certainly do, with entire validity, accuse you of using Straw Man arguments. Perhaps you would care to now actually address the points I make, rather than the ones you wish to think I have made?

Or would you prefer to simply attempt to denigrate my intelligence whilst actually revealing your own failings in this area? If so, I'll leave the last word to you.

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Re: Put your money where your mouth is

Another straw man argument. Never heard of contraceptives? I don't have kids (by choice) despite having being married for 15 years..And who proposed killing anybody?

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Joke

"gourmet buggery"

My mind shuddered at the thought, and it was not about food!

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Happy

Re: "gourmet buggery"

The opposite of a Christopher Street bath-house, you might say.

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Anonymous Coward

@Aaron Miller: A pregnant analogy.

just a hint of 'penis ex machina'

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Nutritional

Well, it may not be sound to reject eating insects from a nutritional point of view. But what about the fact that they're generally rather unsanitary creatures? After all, they're so small, they pretty well have to be eaten whole.

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Boffin

Re: Nutritional

Perhaps you've not heard of Louis Pasteur? The guy who discovered that heating something to 70 degrees for 10 seconds (ie cooking it) killed harmful microbes...

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Re: Nutritional

Then perhaps you would enjoy a nice hot bowl of my poo, right Graham?

There is more to food than sanitation.

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FAIL

Re: Nutritional

> But what about the fact that they're generally rather unsanitary creatures

Yeah - just like those horrible arthipod cousins of theirs - shrimp, prawns, lobsters, crabs...

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Re: Nutritional

I was thinking the same as OP.

Generally shrimp, prawns, lobsters and crabs the digestive tract is removed and disposed, not eaten.

I get squeamish with creatures with too many legs - even lobsters and crabs. Though I do enjoy a prawn cocktail.

In the future, ants will be a staple diet. Ant farms will literally be used for this purpose.

Thank you, Ants.

Thants.

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Re: Nutritional (Graham)

Perhaps you might have heard then, considering your astute knowledge of this type of thing, that the microbes are not that main problem but the toxins created by said microbes during their digestive processes. Yes, we get some nasties from active 'microbes' (I'm assuming you mean Bacteria) such as Salmonella but as far as toxicology is concerned this is just a drop in a petre dish.

Pasteurisation will only be of any use to stop toxin accumulation by denying a culture establishment in the first place. It does not sure already tainted produce.

.

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Boffin

Re: Nutritional

Upvote for having your textbook at hand and taking notes when it mattered:)

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Anonymous Coward

Wild bugs have parasites....

Many wild bugs are full of parasitic organisms harmful to humans, so you don't want to eat wild bugs.

So, the bugs will be factory-farmed.

And then, PETA will complain about the conditions for factory-farmed bugs.

(of course, I expect to see PETA weighing in on how horrible the life of a vat-grown steak is....)

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Re: Wild bugs have parasites....

"And then, PETA will complain about the conditions for factory-farmed bugs."

We could use PETA members instead of insects. Not exactly brain food but it should be organically raised...

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Anonymous Coward

Eat PETA

Ugh. I'll take the bugs.

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Re: Eat PETA

PETA = People Eat Tasty Animals.

Feed the bugs to PETA. Feed PETA to the animals. Eat the animals.

A world where bacon is replaced by insects is not to be tolerated.

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Re: Eat PETA

> A world where bacon is replaced by insects is not to be tolerated.

Can't be that hard to genetically engineer bacon flavour insects.

Or, more practically, a good start to the insect market might be insect protein shake for bodybuilders. They're always on the lookout for cheap protein sources, and by the time you've powdered them and added a load of chocolate flavouring, the disgust factor should be lower.

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Trollface

Re: Wild bugs have parasites....

"We could use PETA members instead of insects."

No, too much crap in them, not worth the effort to clean.

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It seems to me that historically, and possibly in some places today where they lack things like refrigerators, some non-meat-eating people get a significant protein and nutrient boost via the bugs or worms that are already in some grain-type food supplies.

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Weevily biscuits, anyone?

It's been done.

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Devil

Re: Weevily biscuits, anyone?

Straight out of the sewers of Cardiff.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Weevily biscuits, anyone?

The Battle of Trafalgar was won on plates full of creepy buns half eaten.

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Bug me not

" possibly in some places today ... some non-meat-eating people get a significant protein and nutrient boost via the bugs or worms that are already in some grain-type food supplies."

My dad's friends have commented that his salad vegetables are not suitable for vegetarians.

-

I'm slightly ashamed to say that although I totally understand the sense in eating insects, and despite my fondness for fairly similar water-dwelling creatures, I just don't like the idea and almost certainly won't be doing it.

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Bone up on Malthus

We have been dodging the population bullet for a long time, but it will surely be the thing that gets us if we don't stop it.

Let's not invent a world where we have untold billions of serfs living on bugs and dirt. It won't cure the problem and we will meet our demise anyway. We need to turn our sites to getting population under control and getting reasonable with our husbandry of the planet.

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The standard objection, reiterated once more

Whom do you propose we trust with the power to decide who may reproduce and who may not; by what means do you propose they enforce that decision, in the face of all the furious objections its attempted implementation would certainly engender?

Be careful; suggestions such as yours, however well-meaning, necessarily tread in realms inhabited by some of the most atrocious regimes known to human history.

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Re: The standard objection, reiterated once more

While I more or less agree with you, if we assume our bug chomping decedents are still around in ever increasing numbers 100yrs from now, desperate times may call for desperate measures.

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Re: The standard objection, reiterated once more

Katie Saucey: 'Decedent' means 'one who has died', which probably is not what you intended to convey; Romero aside, the dead do no chomping, be it of bugs or otherwise. Leaving aside syntactical cheap shots, you don't so much answer my objection as leave it to devolve upon your notional descendants, or at least upon someone's notional descendants, who no doubt will thank you most kindly for your efforts on their behalf.

Presumably your inclination here is to avert what is commonly known as "Malthusian catastrophe", but to make arguments of this sort is an abuse of Malthus, no less egregious for being commonplace among those who inaccurately imagine themselves his intellectual inheritors. As a cleric and a man with a keen sense of history, Malthus would have in any case been careful to avoid suggesting any positive action be taken, save entire abandonment of the attempt, to avert the inevitable failure of utopian social engineering, whose necessity he so ably demonstrated -- to say nothing of the fact that, as a high-church Anglican writing at the turn of the nineteenth century, his famous essay could only have been intended as a broadside against the very Dissenters whose modern descendants, the political progressives, attempt, through deliberately ignorant misrepresentation, to force his legacy into the service of their disastrous turn.

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