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Aftermath of the NY Times’ Controversial Population Article

June 4, 2015 • Daily Email Recap

Why ‘The Population Bomb’ Bombed

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It is difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.
Any aphorism that gets attributed to both Niels Bohr and Yogi Berra (as well as Samuel Goldwyn, Mark Twain and others), has got to have something going for it. It is difficult to make predictions about the future.
That alone seems to be a good reason to cut some slack for Paul Ehrlich, whose 1968 bestseller “The Population Bomb” forecast the imminent breakdown of the world’s ability to feed itself.
Not that Ehrlich himself makes this easy to do. In a just-released New York Times mini-documentary on the book and its aftermath, the now-83-year-old Stanford biologist says insufferable things like, “One of the things that people don’t understand is that timing to an ecologist is very, very different from timing to an average person.” Uh, then why did you write a book clearly aimed at average people that confidently predicted that in the 1970s hundreds of millions would die of famine? “I expressed more certainty because I was trying to bring people to get something done.” (In that vein he also co-founded the activist group Zero Population Growth, rechristened in 2002 asPopulation Connection.)

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