Too Smart for Our Own Good

November 26, 2011 • Daily Email Recap

Thanks to Sam Hopkins for this review of Craig Dilworth’s new book, Too Smart for Our Own Good, which you can find on Amazon.  See

Too Smart for Our Own Good

The book was published by Cambridge University Press.    Craig has a M.A. in Sociology and a Ph.D. in Philosophy and, as described in Sam’s review, has schooled himself in many disciplines, in order to write this book.

“This book calmly explains the ecological predicament of humankind without ranting, hand wringing or polemics. And unlike most books on our predicament, it includes all the elements – human overpopulation, the many kinds of depletion of renewable as well as non-renewable resources, toxic waste, and the overwhelming of the environment’s capacity of absorb even non-toxic waste, e.g. CO2 (climate change) and nitrogen (dead zones in oceans, bays & other waterways).

The importance the book gives to overpopulation is especially important to me, because in 1966 I began a career in what we could then call international “birth control” (now “family planning”). At that time, the world population was only a fraction over 3 billion (vs. 7 billion today). I abandoned the career after 10 years, because no nation was willing to try to stop its population growth. And ever since I have been looking for a book that explains humankind’s recurrent problem of overpopulation, and why China appears still to be the only nation that is trying to stop its population growth as quickly as is humanely possible. After all these years, I have finally found the explanation I have been looking for. Dr. Dilworth has provided it in both a short and a long form.

The short form of the explanation is encapsulated in Dr. Dilworth’s presentation of his elegantly simple but profound vicious circle principle. The long form consists of his multidisciplinary theory of the development of humankind, in which the principle is applied to the entire 200,000 years of Homo sapiens’ existence. The book references work in such diverse fields as public health, geology, climatology, genetics, biology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, evolution, economics, agronomy, engineering and the hard sciences. The long form of the explanation, of course, illustrates the vicious circle principle at work. The book explains not only humankind’s failure to control the size of its population, but also its failure to limit its use of resources, and to limit, process or otherwise control its pollution and other waste.

Dr. Dilworth has done as much, I believe, as any one person can be expected to do in this kind of project, especially considering that he worked on it over a 15-year period without any funding or staff support. Moreover, it is possible that this invaluable kind of multidisciplinary, broad thinking can only be done by one person working alone, as was the case with Charles Darwin.

I invited Dr. Dilworth to come to the U.S. from Sweden, stay as my house guest, and let me help him find opportunities to speak about this book. I have never done this before for any author and probably will never again be so motivated to promote a book.”

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