Letter to the Director, John Wilmouth:
Page two of the new World Population Prospects
report offers the following statement: “Currently, world population continues to grow….” (a useful and commendable launch which could-have simply added) “….by 83 million additional persons each year.”And then the official report could-have further added that “despite almost 35 years of conferences, papers, and insufficient responses, today’s current increases of 83 million additional persons each year ARE LARGER NOW than the 80 million additional persons that were being added each year back in 1981.”
(That is how the Division could have completed the referenced statement.)
But alas, the report’s actual page two statement instead avoids the clear implications of three billion more already added; furthermore, that annual population growth is now 83 million per year in 2015 and exceeds 1981’s 80 million added each year is omitted (don’t bring up uncomfortable info, perhaps?).
Instead the statement as actually published reads “Currently,. world population continues to grow…” but then adds “…”…though more slowly than in the recent past.”
Somehow, the fact that our worldwide numbers are not only three gigantic billions larger now and are growing even more each year now than they were back in 1981 is not mentioned, while the report instead chooses to portray world population growth totals now as growing “more slowly than in the recent past.”To make such a claim however, the report must switch away from (must avoid) the actual numbers which we have just cited in order to instead offer the following statistical acrobatics: “Ten years ago,” they claim, “world population was growing by 1.24% a year. Today it is growing by 1.18% a year, or approximately an additional 83 million annually.”
Suddenly, our increasing worldwide population growth that has just increased our numbers by three gigantic additional billions and whose annual increase in numbers is even greater each year now than it was way back in 1981 is converted by use of statistical somersaults to “slowing down.”
How, why, and in what way are such “growing more slowly” assertions incorrect, problematic, misleading, or erroneous?
(Statistical manipulations of data in ways that are deceptive, erroneous, or misleading call to mind what both Mark Twain and late physicist Albert Bartlett both said – There are lies, damn lies, – and then there are statistics.)
The answer is as follows: Earth’s functioning natural systems and Biospheric life-support machinery – (which constitute the only planetary life-support machinery so far known to exist anywhere in the universe) – have never attended college (poor uneducated little things) which means that – (a) They have never taken a course in college statistics, and (b) They evaluate their lives, environments, and survival by un-manipulated real-world numbers and events (so they think, for instance, that 83 million extra added each year now, and three billion more now, as opposed to 80 million extra added each year back then is not “slowing down”).As a result, therefore, the following is what they see and experience: On a continuing, constant, endless, widening, ever-worsening, and ever-accumulating worldwide basis, they find themselves endlessly assaulted, damaged, dismantled, impacted, eradicated, and obliterated on a constant, continuous, worldwide, non-stop, ever-growing, ever-widening, and ever-accumulating worldwide basis by greater and greater and ever-growing human numbers and activities.
1981 – World population is roughly 4.5 billion and is growing larger by approximately 80 million additional per year
2015 – World population is roughly 7.3 billion and is growing larger by approximately 83 million additional per year