latest changes & additions at link to document abstracts quotations at, with source document where relevant      latest news headlines at abelard's news and comment zone Children and television violence interesting site links at abelard's news and comment zone about abelard and
link to short briefings documents France zone at - another France economics and money zone at - government swindles and how to transfer money on the net   Energy - beyond fossil fuels click for abelard's child education zone visit abelard's gallery technology zone at how to survive and thrive on the web

New translation, the Magna Carta

understanding a species under stress

a briefing document

back to abelard's front page

site map


understanding a species under stress is part of a collection of short documents concerning education to civilisation
understanding a species under stress humans killing humans

the nature of cult recruitment - jihadi bombers

‘cocksure young men’
laying the foundations for sound education understanding the current political world

“Individuals, and groups of individuals labelled as species, when introduced into a new environmental niche may expand rapidly under unlimited resources in the manner of Calhoun’s rats. Only over time, will some new constraint limit that expansion. Rats, with their limited behaviour repertoire, turn in mindless confusion upon one another when the ‘space’ for their instinctive reactions becomes constrained. Humans have a new choice, adapt the environment, or their own behaviour, or some combination of these. Humans have the option not to expand and multiply. It is only when a ‘niche’ is ‘full’ that ‘competition’ is a convincing element, a rich society has less pressure to ‘conflict’.”
[Quoted from Feedback and crowding]

Until you fill ‘the’ niche, you are in a better position than once you have filled the niche.

Life drives to fill niches.

Energy, for instance, is a constraining parameter of ‘a niche’.

Marker at

Jevons’ ‘paradox’

“There is a problem of conservation, known as Jevons paradox.

“Jevons, in The Coal Question (1865), drew attention to the Watt steam engine. It was invented because the older Newcomen engine was so inefficient. But making steam power more efficient made the use of steam power spread more widely, and therefore coal consumption increased.

“Jevons’ Paradox is that conservation can encourage and increase consumption. Conservation does not necessarily, and of itself, reduce consumption.”

Marker at

Consider the rate at which birth limitation is bringing under control the expansion rate of Western populations. In among that population, there remain people with the tenancy or ability to produce above the average number of children. By normal selection, such a tendancy will rapidly spread throughout the population. In my view, over time, this will reverse the control over population size, assuming no other forces are brought to bear.

See also ‘Evolutionarily stable strategies’ (ESSs).

return to the index


advertising disclaimer

advertising disclaimer

email abelard email abelard at

© abelard, 2007, 21 november

all rights reserved

the address for this document is

xx words
prints as 2 A4 pages (on my printer and set-up)

latest abstracts information quotations   headlines resources interesting about abelard