Home > Doom, Elitist, Groupthink, Intellectuals, Sowell > Earth Day Predictions from 1970

Earth Day Predictions from 1970


This is why you don’t let the “experts” dictate policy.

“Population will inevitably and completely outstrip whatever small increases in food supplies we make. The death rate will increase until at least 100-200 million people per year will be starving to death during the next ten years.” – Paul Ehrlich, Stanford University biologist

“By…[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.” – The same Paul Ehrilich

“Scientists have solid experimental and theoretical evidence to support…the following predictions: In a decade, urban dwellers will have to wear gas masks to survive air pollution…by 1985 air pollution will have reduced the amount of sunlight reaching earth by one half….” – Life Magazine, January 1970

“By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’” – Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

“Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions….By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine.” – Peter Gunter, professor, North Texas State University

I’m a big fan of Dr. Thomas Sowell. His book Intellectuals and Society is an excellent read, to get an idea of what goes through the mind of intellectuals like Ehrilich. Why they get it wrong but never have to answer for being wrong so consistently.

(O)ne of the advantages of high intelligence is the ability to rationalize. We can all make mistakes and again, if you don’t pay for those mistakes, there’s not really a strong reason to make a correction. In fact, to admit a mistake among intellectuals and more so among politicians, will do you more damage than persisting in it.

Here’s more from Sowell. Go to the 2:04 minute mark to hear him talk about intellectuals that don’t pay any price for being wrong.

So think about all this, the next time you hear someone talk about the pending doom, unless of course we take their advice.

H/T Cafe Hayek

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  1. yttik
    April 26, 2010 at 22:22

    I’m a cynic so I figure all these doomsday prophecies will cancel each other out. The population explosion will be solved by the world hunger crisis, global cooling was obviously eliminated by global warming, the super volcanic eruptions will send enough power into the atmosphere to scare off the deadly asteroid that’s coming. If all else fails the Mayan calender ends on 2012, so that should resolve the matter.

    But yes, it gets a bit scary when these experts start dictating policy. The Zero population people were a bit frightening, state controlled reproduction, penalties for non compliance, execution of anybody not viewed as necessary or contributing to society. Eugenics and social engineering scare the crap out of me. I’m not even comfortable being told what kind of light bulb I’m allowed to use.

  2. yttik
    April 27, 2010 at 09:32

    Oh, add peak oil hysteria to my list of complaints. I know, were going to run out of oil in the next few years and we’ll all die. Be afraid, be very afraid. They’ll be riots in the streets, food shortages, and armed neighbors coming over to siphon all your gas and steal your food supplies.

    Or we may simply become more efficient with our fuel uses, we may invent new forms of alternative energy, or perhaps even discover new untapped reserves of oil. Humans have been known to rise to the occasion and adapt.

    • April 27, 2010 at 18:53

      God, no more about Peak Oil! ha ha. Did you read J-SOMs post today? You can guess the topic, if you haven’t read it yet. I wonder what makes the peakers so adamant about Peak Oil? Is it the hatred of oil, oil companies, gasoline and all things Carbon, that fuels the Peak Oil theory? It seams like everyone that’s for peak oil are the same people always going crazy about oil profits or carbon footprints and all that crap.
      One thing about Peak Oil, is it’s never going away. We will have enough oil supplies for the next 50 years and for everyone year of those 50, there will be people out there complaining about peak oil. Paul Ehrlich is a prime example, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon-Ehrlich_wager

      “All of [Ehrlich’s] grim predictions had been decisively overturned by events. Ehrlich was wrong about higher natural resource prices, about “famines of unbelievable proportions” occurring by 1975, about “hundreds of millions of people starving to death” in the 1970s and ’80s, about the world “entering a genuine age of scarcity.” In 1990, for his having promoted “greater public understanding of environmental problems,” Ehrlich received a MacArthur Foundation Genius Award.” [Simon] always found it somewhat peculiar that neither the Science piece nor his public wager with Ehrlich nor anything else that he did, said, or wrote seemed to make much of a dent on the world at large. For some reason he could never comprehend, people were inclined to believe the very worst about anything and everything; they were immune to contrary evidence just as if they’d been medically vaccinated against the force of fact. Furthermore, there seemed to be a bizarre reverse-Cassandra effect operating in the universe: whereas the mythical Cassandra spoke the awful truth and was not believed, these days “experts” spoke awful falsehoods, and they were believed. Repeatedly being wrong actually seemed to be an advantage, conferring some sort of puzzling magic glow upon the speaker.”

  1. April 28, 2010 at 20:39

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