Thursday, September 9, 2010

Fanatics vs Facts

When I was a callow youth, I was hammered incessantly by ZPG, Paul Ehrlich, and other fanatics telling me that the world was going to hell in a handbasket because of "overpopulation". From Wikipedia:
In December 1967, Ehrlich wrote in the New Scientist that the world would experience famines sometime between 1970 and 1985 due to population growth outstripping resources. He stated that "the battle to feed all of humanity is over ... In the 1970s and 1980s hundreds of millions of people will starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now." Ehrlich also stated, "India couldn't possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980," or "be self-sufficient in food by 1971." He has been criticized as being wrong in these predictions. Ehrlich himself concedes that he did overstate his case here, underestimating the effects of the green revolution, but that part of the reason that there have not been such serious famines has been due to a reduction in birth rates that his book had argued were necessary. He also stated that in some areas The Population Bomb actually underestimated the dangers of high population - it made no mention of global warming, for instance.[9] In 2006, Lara Knudsen[10] wrote that Ehrlich's views were accepted by many population control advocates in the United States and Europe in the 1960s and 1970s.[11] She chose a brief passage from the final chapter of Population Bomb to show that Ehrlich had discussed an extreme solution to extreme cases of overpopulation: "compulsory birth regulation... (through) the addition of temporary sterilants to water supplies or staple food. Doses of the antidote would be carefully rationed by the government to produce the desired family size."
That was the "fanatic" bit, now for the "fact" bit. The following is a graph from data by UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) statistics database and taken from a post by Willis Eschenbach in the blog Watts Up With That?:

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Hard to find the deaths of tens of millions, of hundreds of millions, from great famines in the facts, right? But for twenty or thirty years, that didn't stop the fanatics from decrying overpopulation. And they did this while the now famous Green Revolution was picking up steam. In short, they were pushing a fanatical message in the very teeth of the agricultural revolution that was putting the lie to their claims.

But that is exactly how fanatics behave. Facts don't stop them. They "know" the truth and they can't be bothered by facts or discussions or theories or alternatives. It is their way or the highway!

By the way... I find the blog Watts Up With That? to be an excellent antidote to the fanaticism over "climate change" / "global warming". This site specializes in all things meteorological. It also has a number of posts on "climate change". Guess what: the climate is always changing! And as for "global warming", sure it has warmed a bit over the last century, but it isn't doing the runaway global warming that you would expect given the caterwauling that the global warming fanatics have indulged in.

One of the most telling things I've run across lately was a post by Steven Goddard on his Real Science blog with the following table:

He observes that the last time any continent set a record high temperature was 1974. Isn't this fact quite odd? Given the hockey stick graph of runaway global temperatures...

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You would expect that all the records to have been set in recent years. But the last heat record was over 36 years ago!

Meanwhile, following up the link to the site with the statistics, you discover that global cold records have been broken on 3 continents since 1976.

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During an era of runaway global warming we are setting record lows but no record highs. What an odd kind of heat death that is for planet earth!

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