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A New Rant from an Unrepentant Secular Doomsday Prophet


Do you see yourself as a worthless cockroach contributing to the collapse of human civilization? Probably not, but Stanford biologist Paul Ehrlich thinks precisely that about you.

Fifty years ago, he published arguably the worst book ever written, The Population Bomb, which declared that human overpopulation would cause mass starvation. Instead, the Green Revolution (led in part by ACSH co-founder Norman Borlaug) caused global food production to explode, and the world population more than doubled from 3.5 billion in 1968 to 7.6 billion today.

The reason The Population Bomb was so terrible is not because its predictions were wrong; most scientists make incorrect predictions. No, the book is terrible because of how it made people in the developed world feel about people in the developing world. A short anecdote, which I described for Forbes, illustrates my point.

Several years ago, I gave a talk in Seattle about the benefits of GMOs. One person in the audience expressed concern that GMOs were simply helping to “feed the monster” — that is, the “monster” known as hungry people in poor parts of the world. Though she didn’t verbalize it, her words were clear: The world would be better off if poor people (mostly brown and black, I might add) in distant lands weren’t given any food. Starve the monster.

This appalling attitude is surprisingly common in allegedly compassionate cities like Seattle. And the book that gives this openly misanthropic, vaguely genocidal belief a veneer of academic credibility is The Population Bomb.

A New Rant from an Unrepentant Secular Doomsday Prophet

Now, at the age of 85, Dr. Ehrlich still hasn’t let reality change his mind. In fact, he’s doubled down on his apocalyptic prognostications. In an interview with The Guardian, he likens humans to cancer cells. The article reads like a crackpot manifesto, channeling the unscientific ramblings of the Food Babe along with the conspiracy theorizing of Alex Jones:

The world’s optimum population is less than two billion people – 5.6 billion fewer than on the planet today, he argues, and there is an increasing toxification of the entire planet by synthetic chemicals that may be more dangerous to people and wildlife than climate change.

Ehrlich also says an unprecedented redistribution of wealth is needed to end the over-consumption of resources, but “the rich who now run the global system – that hold the annual ‘world destroyer’ meetings in Davos – are unlikely to let it happen”.

Let’s debunk this, line by line.

There is no optimum human population. Dr. Ehrlich pulled the “less than two billion” figure out of thin air. Besides, demographers predict that the population will peak and begin to shrink, probably sometime in the 2100’s. The reason is because people tend to have fewer children as they become wealthier. That fact exposes his “cancer cell” analogy as entirely bogus. Humans don’t behave like cancer cells.

Dr. Ehrlich’s concern over “synthetic chemicals” is simply based on ignorance of chemistry and biochemistry. It doesn’t matter if a chemical is “natural” or “synthetic.” From a toxicological perspective, the only thing that matters is the dose and how an organism’s metabolism handles it. Chemists can make pretty much anything they want in the laboratory, so there is little practical distinction between natural and synthetic chemicals. There is neither anything magical about the former nor evil about the latter.

Dr. Ehrlich’s screed against the cabal of rich people who run “world destroyer” meetings in Davos is so utterly conspiratorial and unhinged, that it makes me wonder if he believes the Illuminati helped fake the moon landing.

The Mouth of Fools Poureth Out Folly

To this day, Dr. Ehrlich stands by his book. Though his timing was off, he claims the book is correct. What explains his lack of repentance in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary?

Dr. Ehrlich is an ideologue. His predictions are less like the careful analysis of a serious scientist and more like the wish list of a misanthrope. Apparently, wisdom and grace don’t always grow with age.


14 Comments on "A New Rant from an Unrepentant Secular Doomsday Prophet"

  1. Anonymouse1 on Tue, 10th Apr 2018 4:20 pm 

    The amerikan Council on Health and Science. Sounds totally legit.

    From: About

    Anti-science groups determined to undermine American dominance routinely insist the pro-science community is composed of “industry front groups.” Political cabals from Sourcewatch to Greenpeace appeal to their financial base by promoting belief in a vast science conspiracy secretly funded by corporations to harm the planet for profit. Yet when pressed for evidence they simply link to each other repeating the same claims. Financial reality shows the real industry wealth is on their side. While anti-science activism generates over a billion dollars per year, we are 1/500th of that, and only 4 percent of our budget is from corporations, far less corporate money than Environmental Working Group, NRDC or hundreds of other groups receive.

    With endorsements from such luminaries and orgs like

    -The Wall St Urinal
    -GW Bush (yea, that one)
    -Steve Jobs (RIP)
    Julia Childs (lol),

    you can trust ‘ACHS’ to give you the straight dope. Unlike all those dope smoking hippies with their anti-amerikan dominance agenda. Trust them, they are not a corporate front group. They even deny it in their About us. No way, no how, are they a front group.

  2. makati1 on Tue, 10th Apr 2018 6:10 pm 

    You can read their “About” propaganda or:

    “ACSH takes the position that “junk science” promotes unnecessary fear among the population that too many ingredients in foods are implicated as cancer-causing agents, also known as carcinogens, mutagens, pathogens, pesticides, synthetic preservatives and chemical additives. Although one in every three Americans will get cancer in their lifetime and half will not survive it, ACSH moves to discredit any concerns about the food industry and food products that have been proven as such by the very science they claim to be protecting. …

    ACSH tells the public to have no fears regarding consuming DDT, pesticides, glyphosate (which was recently implicated as a probable cancer causing agent by WHO), endocrine disrupting chemicals, artificial growth hormones like rBGH, phthalates, Agent Orange, the dangerous pesticide Atrazine, or even mercury in dental fillings and vaccinations. ACSH clearly backs other environmental threats like fracking (hydraulic fracturing) and GM agriculture. …”

    “ACSH may be solely a propaganda machine for Biotech and Big Food. Through their own actions they have discredited their own theories and have shown no scientific evidence that any theories they promote have ever been proven. (8) In fact, most of their theories have been disproven by independent, reliable research that has no “skin in the game.””

    Who signs the check tells what the ‘spin/propaganda’ is.

  3. DerHundistlos on Tue, 10th Apr 2018 8:39 pm 

    Why does Peak Oil News even post this garbage? Why give sham organizations like ACSH any credibility?

  4. Boat on Tue, 10th Apr 2018 8:53 pm 


    When did have anything to do with credibility. They make money off propaganda. The money probably comes from Russia.

  5. Sissyfuss on Tue, 10th Apr 2018 9:01 pm 

    Dear, this article was so disgusting I couldn’t bring myself to post on it so I’ll post to you instead. Be well.

  6. Gary Goodson on Tue, 10th Apr 2018 9:38 pm 

    I once spoke at a Carnegie Mellon University class about the planet’s physical limits- a guy in the audience just about came unglued because he was a part of the “Green Revolution.” And the billions of starving people it saved/created. We were both right and both wrong depending upon the timing and scale one judges the results of the Green Revolution.

    My point was that in the long term more people – but different people will starve. Like paying it forward in a bad way.

  7. DerHundistlos on Tue, 10th Apr 2018 11:00 pm 

    Always count on Siss for a witty chuckle…….

  8. anon on Wed, 11th Apr 2018 3:59 am 

    i dont think the article was posted to negate ehrlich’s observations and conclusions, rather it was posted to remind us of how insane the People of the Machine have become in defending their religion against any possible doubts.
    They will indeed burn the whole world to ashes pursuing their insanity, or go down trying.

  9. Jef on Wed, 11th Apr 2018 8:16 am 

    Yes thanks to Borlaug 75% of the caloric intake of the world population is cereal. Good for the mega multinational grain producers. Bad for people.

    I bet the author, along with everyone else who lauds the green rev and feeding the developing world, is a big fat hypocrite ass hole who limits his carb intake and eats lots of meat and veggies.

    We feed the world as long as someone can get rich growing grains. We certainly do not come even close to nourishing the world cause there is no money in that.

  10. fmr-paultard on Wed, 11th Apr 2018 8:24 am 

    kerels eurotard ontvangt hierbij de prijs van bagdad bob, de meest prestigieuze valse nieuwsmedaille die men kan krijgen voor baanbrekend werk in nepnieuws. toen hij zei dat eurotardland passagiersvliegtuigen zal laden met invasie troepen in massale aanval tegen Amerika moet men het aan hem geven voor creativiteit

  11. Dredd on Wed, 11th Apr 2018 10:05 am 

    ACHS seems to be a cancer cell.

  12. Kenz300 on Wed, 11th Apr 2018 11:03 am 

    Endless population growth is just not sustainable.

    The world adds 80 million more mouths to feed, clothe and house every year adding to poverty, suffering and despair of millions.

    How many charities are dealing with the same problems they were dealing with 10 or 20 years ago with no end in sight. Every problem is made worse by the worlds growing population. If you can not provide for yourself you can not provide for a child.

  13. jawagord on Wed, 11th Apr 2018 11:25 am 

    In my opinion all things are sustainable until they are not and the population of the world will behave accordingly.

    I don’t find the term sustainable has any real meaning on a finite planet with finite resources, it’s all unsustainable in the long run.

    Fortunately we have a very large planet with a long life span. The more interconnected societies have become, the more knowledge and technology we have access to has created the largest and longest population growth in known history. At some point it will slow down, maybe reverse but we are not at that point yet. Most UN statistics show more people are better off than ever before in the world’s history, maybe it is poverty that is “Unsustainable”?

    “Extreme poverty rates have been cut by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one in five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day”

  14. DerHundistlos on Wed, 11th Apr 2018 1:12 pm 

    I fail to see the point of your post, jawagord, unless you are advocating a BAU scenario due to a reduction in extreme poverty rates.

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