Class Notes - Population and Society 1 Max Cappell Class...

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Population and Society 1 Max Cappell Class Notes John Sandberg 334 Peterson Hall January 8, 2008 Introduction: Population Thinking What is a population? o Reproduction is key o A body of persons or individuals having a quality or characteristics in common – a group of interbreeding organisms that represents the level of organization at which speciation brings (biological) o Also – a temporally or geographically specific group of (often interacting) individuals defined by shared characteristics and subject to dynamics of reproduction and replacement Reproduction allows for change and adaptation – key factor in populations and why they have sex o The idea is that sexually reproducing organisms do so because they share their genetic make up – they allow for new generations to come along with different genetic makeup’s that may be better suited to their environment o Useful variations are often reproduced What is the mechanism (gear turning), why is it that if I developed a mutation for flight, (if useful) why in a few generations would there be many more people that could fly? o Higher likelihood of surviving, thus a much better chance to reproduce o Flying would be attractive to members of the opposite sex o Characteristics are reproduced because individuals survive longer with useful mutations (Ernst Mayer) We can recognize different populations by recognizing the different restrictions that apply o This class (everyone registered) can be considered a population, the undergraduate population at McGill… o These restrictions enable us to draw different lines around groups and think of them as populations – becomes very useful Why population and society? o Population can affect society in many different ways o Resource consumption and food o The biggest problem we have is the distribution of resources – China, India, huge populations are consuming huge amounts of resources – even if they stay at the same level they are at now, the use of resources will increase exponentially in the next 50 years – there are just so many extra people o Baby boom – so many kids entering the university system – all over North America, there is a large shortage of professors – everyone is now retiring
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Population and Society 2 (our parents) – thus there are many jobs out there for the taking for university professors Norman Ryder – almost everything in society reflects reality of population characteristics and change o Population bomb – remarkable age right now in the growth of human population – growing exponentially for a very long time – modern world is a product of this growth Thomas Malthus and his population checks – very same thing o Population growth and resources (welfare services, infrastructure needs, community health, taxes and defense) – healthy population is large population – you can get more taxes and put more people in the military (very important) o Population implosion – decrease of fertility in the industrialized world may
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Class Notes - Population and Society 1 Max Cappell Class...

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