November 2, 2011

A whole pile of reasons why Andrew Bolt is sometimes ok and Paul Ehrlich isn't

What makes us so hungry to be told we're doomed, even by people we should mock? Especially by. Take Paul Ehrlich. 

Actually, it's a miracle he's dropped in on us, since by his past predictions he should be half-starved and short of petrol for his wooden jet.

Yet this professor of population studies at Stanford University is among us again, well-fed and cheerfully predicting some fresh apocalypse, this time involving global warming.

But why are the ABC and University of NSW so keen to hear from him again?

A butterfly specialist, Ehrlich started his bizarre career of doomsaying in 1968 with his best-selling book The Population Bomb.

"The battle to feed humanity is over," he declared.

"In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. At this late date nothing can prevent a substantial increase in the world death rate ..."

The very opposite of what happened.

This mass starvation would be visited on even the richest countries, Ehrlich explained in a 1971 lecture.
"By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people.
In 1990, for instance, he received a Swedish Royal Academy of Science prize and the MacArthur Foundation's $345,000 "genius award" for promoting a "greater public understanding of environmental problems", proving you will be forgiven any wild mistake or exaggeration in a "good" cause.

That explains Tim Flannery, Al Gore and David Suzuki, all made rich by predicting our doom to the teacher-preacher class, which likes to think it can see what the masses can't, and likes even more an excuse to control that mob's more unruly appetites.

Yet here he is again, bobbing up on the ABC's Science Show for a chat with presenter Robyn Williams, who himself preposterously predicted that global warming could cause the seas to rise by as much as 100m this century.

Only in one area do we seem to have gone backwards. We seem more irrational these days, and for this Ehrlich for once has the evidence.

Of courses, Ehrlich is hardly the only purveyor of human induced Armageddon, nor the only one to have it so woefully wrong.  In the past, however, crystal ball gazing passed-off as science simply didn't have the political, economic, social and global consequences of the modern day doom-porn promoters. 

All aflutter with continuing toxic predictions of global catastrophe 

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