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    Saturday, August 12, 2006

    Shortage of souls

    Hindu demographers at the Kharagpur Institute of Technology warn that the expected increase in world population will lead to a shortage of souls by the year 2045.

    To be fair, we greatly simplified some of the conclusions and discussion in the original report: "Bayesian meta-analysis of incipient population pressures on the availability of souls", by D.S. Nanda et al.

    The main conclusion is that the median recycling period, as measured from death to rebirth, has become increasingly rapid-- down from a historical average of approximately 191.4 yrs to only 7.3 months today, as the ratio of living beings to eternal souls has increased. It is expected that by the year 2045, demand will reach a critical threshold, and all existing souls will be simultaneously incarnate.

    One of the most interesting sections of the paper discusses that the impending shortage of souls may not directly be due to the increase in the number of living human beings. Rather human population increases have led to the degradation of ecosystems worldwide; in turn, this leads to a smaller population of large animals of all kinds (the extinction of large species of mammals; the loss of fully mature fish stock). Yet the overall biomass of animal populations is remaining constant, or perhaps increasing: there has been a dramatic increase in the number of small animals. In short, though the overall number of eternal souls remains constant, the number of living animals of all kinds is increasing dramatically, a most frightening development.

    Another section of the paper discusses the implications of a post-soul era.
    Will some children be born without souls? Will a soul-less child behave outwardly the same as a child that does possess a soul?

    In fact, it is not clear that there is any test to discern whether a child does or does not have a soul-- not even the child will know. Some researchers believe that the shortage of souls is already upon us, and that many of us, me, you, all of us perhaps, are soul-less zombies.


    Unfortunately the paper mentioned no longer seems to be available on the internet, which made me a bit said since I'd hoped to read it after finding this.

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