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A forage into the land of stupid June 17, 2008

Posted by ragnarblog1 in Uncategorized.

One of the most influential idiots in recent history was an Englishman named Thomas Malthus.

Around 1900 he wrote a book claiming that populations grow exponentially (like 1,2,4,8,16, …) , while their food supplies only grow linearly (like 1,2,3,4,5,… ) .  Therefore, populations will grow until they get starved and individuals barely survive.

This was the inevitable future of humanity, according to this guy.

Never mind the fact that such things almost never happen in nature and is not known to have happened to any civilization ever through all of recorded history.

And never mind that no population of anything ever grows exponentially. Ever watched a forest or a piece of grassland grow back after a fire? At first, the population of trees, grasses and other plants grows fast, then they settle into an equilibrium. And no – neither the trees in a forest nor the grasses on a meadow is starved and sickly because they “overpopulate” anything, like this guy Malthus would have us believe they would.

Think about that for a while.  It may take some time to realize the depth of stupidity involved here.  The guy sold the world a plain denial of very simple observational facts.   Yet still today millions of people believe his nonsense.

Today, he has three kind of followers.

  • The so-called “intellectuals” who babble about “overpopulation”, “sustainable development”, “population control” and similar nonsense because they actually believe in it.
  • Power-hungry politicians and bureaucrats – many of them in the UN – who babble about “overpopulation”, “sustainable development”, “population control” and similar nonsense because it helps them gain power.
  • The herd of common people who believe in this nonsense because they’ve been told it’s true and never bother to think anything through.

The Malthus wikipedia article contains a readable intro to his ideas.



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