free html hit counter Peak Oil Debunked: 146. PAUL EHRLICH

Friday, October 28, 2005


Paul Ehrlich is a Stanford professor, and one of the original die-off blowhards from the 1970s.

Paul Ehrlich: Doomer jackass extraordinaire

To give you an idea of how stupid doomers can be, let's take a little trip down memory lane with some memorable Ehrlich quotes from yesteryear. (As you can see, there's an uncanny resemblance to the breathless hype of today's crop of peak oil doomers):
The battle to feed humanity is over. In the 1970s, the world will undergo famines. Hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death in spite of any crash programs embarked upon now. Population control is the only answer. -- Paul Ehrlich, in The Population Bomb (1968)

I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000. -- Paul Ehrlich, 1969

In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish. -- Paul Ehrlich, Earth Day 1970

Before 1985, mankind will enter a genuine age of scarcity... in which the accessible supplies of many key minerals will be facing depletion. -- Paul Ehrlich, 1976 Source

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 in an interview with Peter Collier in the April 1970 of the magazine Mademoiselle.

By 1985 enough millions will have died to reduce the earth's population to some acceptable level, like 1.5 billion people. -- Paul Ehrlich, 1969

By 1980 the United States would see its life expectancy drop to 42 because of pesticides, and by 1999 its population would drop to 22.6 million. -- Paul Ehrlich, 1969 Source

The lesson to be drawn from this? Don't listen to pompous peak oil misanthropes who think they can see the future. They can't.

The folks at have it right:
Ehrlich summed up his approach to overpopulation with a flourish worthy of the great totalitarian dictators of the 20th century,
"A cancer is an uncontrolled multiplication of cells; the population explosion is an uncontrolled multiplication of people. Treating only the symptoms of cancer may make the victim more comfortable at first, but eventually he dies -- often horribly. A similar fate awaits a world with a population explosion if only the symptoms are treated. We must shift our efforts from treatment of the symptoms to the cutting out of the cancer. The operation will demand many apparently brutal and heartless decisions. The pain may be intense. But the disease is so far advanced that only with radical surgery does the patient have a chance of survival."
Based on the evidence of the past 25 years, this would have been a horrible "solution." The world turned out to have a case of the flu, and Ehrlich recommended the equivalent of bleeding the patient. Source

This is a very good reason to be skeptical of all peak oiler "solutions" -- such as the extermination of non-contributing members of society promoted by ASPO (see 29. COLIN CAMPBELL "LETS THE MATTER REST"), or the military dictatorship promoted by Jay Hanson (see #145 below). They'll try to tell you that they need brutal, draconian powers because the alternative is so much worse, but the "alternative" is just a fiction they dreamed up. Paul Ehrlich said we needed to go fascist in the 1970s or billions of people would die. Well guess what: We didn't do anything and billions of people are eating better than ever. He was wrong, and should pay the price for it. He needs to be taken out back, gagged, tarred and feathered for attempting a fascist putsch by false scaremongering.
-- by JD


At Saturday, October 29, 2005 at 10:04:00 AM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

History tells us fascist regimes are short lived and flourish in crazy moments of human stupidly – usually fed by mis-information. Democracy and tolerance is the only way forward if a political system is to have any real longevity. Forcing a situation is usually a recipe for disaster.

It has been shown time and time again people work best when they feel they are doing something useful and a MORE cooperative if the situation is win-win. The trouble with characters like this is that have very simplistic thinking. Whereas some birth control is welcome, exterminating a group or sector of the population can NEVER be acceptable for a whole host of reasons. For example, some people can be incredibly clever, but be mean spirited and have a lack of feeling and co-operation. This can cause more problems that someone who is of average intelligence than can show compassion and understanding! And how are great works of art, philosophy or writing viewed? The answer is subjectively! The cure for cancer might be found by someone who is disabled – Look at the great physicist Steven Hawking, clearly he has contributed to society of scientific thinking more than many able bodied people!

To conclude, we can never or should never go down the path of selection as it is bound to open up more cans or worms than problems it solves. After all wars are very resources intensive and very often lead to a situation of 'last man standing'.

I view anyone who takes the writings of Mr Ehrlich and Stanton seriously with great mistrust and I’m afraid my sympathy with ASPO diminished a great deal when they included references to their works. In my view Michael Lynch is far more ‘on the money’ that many Peak oilers, who have really lost the art of critical thinking and resource data crunching.

At Saturday, October 29, 2005 at 11:10:00 PM PDT, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"As you can see, there's an uncanny resemblance to the breathless hype of today's crop of peak oil doomers"

Truer words have never been spoken.

At Sunday, October 30, 2005 at 6:35:00 PM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

wildwell wrote: "..In my view Michael Lynch is far more ‘on the money’ that many Peak oilers, who have really lost the art of critical thinking and resource data crunching."

Michael Lynch is a fraud who has done less to debunk the dieoff thesis, and has done more to more to promote the Julian Simon faith in technology & economics nonsense. He promotes that there is no foreseeable oil peak based on oil he assumes will be able to produced. He assumes that huge oil deposits will be discovered in unexplored locations in the mid east based on the idea that no one has looked really hard. Hell mike, nobody has looked for diamonds on my front lawn either; therefore, it must be littered with them as well. Bullshit!

Another turkey ol' Mikey likes to push is that of constant oil reserve growth. In other words, infinite oil due to the assumed miracles of future technology. Oh but wait, infinite oil? Where's your proof Mike...

Mike Lynch is not a critical thinker or a data cruncher. He is a follower of the Simon creed who has set out to debunk peak oil BEFORE ever crunching any data. Wherever his set of data leaves a few holes-- and there are many-- he constructs erroneous arguments and assumptions in order to support his preconceived conclusions.

At Sunday, October 30, 2005 at 9:07:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Read down to #140 on this blog for the view of a respected analyst of the oil industry who disagrees with Lynch, who argues that peak oil is RIGHT NOW, and who obviously thinks that civilization is going to keep on humming regardless. I suspect that the truth lies somewhere between Lynch and Savinar. Don't you?

At Sunday, October 30, 2005 at 10:16:00 PM PST, Blogger dub_scratch said...

anonymous wrote: "I suspect that the truth lies somewhere between Lynch and Savinar. Don't you?"

Yes, and thank you. I am tired to the debate being that of those who predict we are set dieoff-doomsday any minuet-- like Ehrlich and Savinar-- vs those who say we have plenty of oil to come for eons. The problem with the latter argument alone is that it depends leads to bickering over the peak oil date and URR which no one knows, including Lynch. And why should anyone accept his predictions over Campbell's when he has no proof, whatsoever.

What about the idea that oil can peak tomorrow and civilization can adapt? That case is not strengthened at all by those who try to push their gushing oil assumptions as some kind of proof, like Lynch. When the argument is centered on oil supply, then we tend to go nowhere in this debate.

We should get beyond the battle over peak oil forecasts and acknowledge that it is likely within the next 20 years and we need to discuss the "what then" and lay off a little on the oil supply question.

At Sunday, October 30, 2005 at 11:22:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't see why you equate dieoff with fascism. Getting rid of the unvanted parts of your population was practised on a grand scale by Lenin and Stalin but not by Mussolini or Hitler. Historically it would make more sence to equate dieoff with communism.

At Sunday, October 30, 2005 at 11:23:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I mean by letting whem starve to death.

At Monday, October 31, 2005 at 2:57:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one besides ignorants that fell for the whole anti-communist propaganda spread by people like Mcarthy believes that Stalin and co were real communists. It was fascism, plain and simple. And saying that Hitler didn't get rid of the unwanted parts of his population is one of the most ridiculous comments I've ever seen! Unless you're a holocaust denier, I suppose.

At Monday, October 31, 2005 at 3:12:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I’ve softened slightly, once area of the population we should be looking at reducing is criminals. Persistent and serious criminals, rather than languishing in jails, should be shipped off the army boot camps and go out and restore order and help rebuilding in the Middle East. That should be a release of testosterone for them, and reduce the population a bit. We have a serious Yob culture in Britain, a return to the old ideas of shipping people abroad to help with the forces and hard manual work I would welcome.

At Monday, October 31, 2005 at 7:58:00 AM PST, Blogger Quantoken said...

Paul Ehrlich is an entomologist who study the multiplication of insects which have very short lifespan and incredibly fast duplication speed, compare with human being. So he may have completely got the time scale wrong when he moved from insects to human. Predicting anything dramatic in the 1970s at the year 1968 just seems to be too short sighted.

However, the basic premise of his theory is correct, and has been PROVEN correct by thousands of years of human history. Allowing an exponential growth of like say just 1% increase per year, it really doesn't take long for human population to exceed the number of atoms on the earth. 5000 or 10000 years is sufficient. Simple math.

It didn't happen because there are physical limits, and human history has always ben littered with all sorts of disasters all the time. So the population growth often times take a break from the stead and constant exponential growth. I can cite no less than 10 historical occurences that China's population is slashed by not a few percentage, but 10 times or even 100 times, for example. China's population today could have been a couple hundred trillion today, if no disasters ever happened.

Meanwhile, Paul Ehrlich remain correct in claiming that a couple hundred million people died per year, today. That's what's happening in today's world. In the developing countries, an average woman gave birth to 5,6,7,8 babies during her lifetime. Most of the babies die before reaching adulthood to raise their own families. If the world sees a hundred million people turn adulthood each year, several times than number died young, due to malnutrition or lack of mecical care, or poerty and violence. That's a fact. If none of the 6-8 babies ever die, human will breed like rabits.


At Monday, October 31, 2005 at 7:59:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ehrlich was more correct than incorrect. Obviously, we aren't at 1.5 billion population (as he claimed we should be by now). But he was certainly correct about millions starving every year, and the virtual extinction of important ocean life. He may have underestimated the flexibility of industrial systems, but it's clear that under enough pressure, anything will break. His work is important in understanding what those pressures are and what will be the consequences of them eventually.

At Monday, October 31, 2005 at 11:32:00 PM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a dumb way of trying to make a point, JD and I'll show you why. Julian Simon once said the following:

"We have in our hands now - actually in our libraries - the technology to feed, clothe, and supply energy to an ever-growing population for the next 7 billion years."

We can all safely assume that that remark is utter bollocks. Does that fact make Paul Erlich right? No it doesn't. The fact of the matter is that Paul Erlich or Julian Simon uttering bollocks doesn't prove a thing at all.

At Tuesday, November 8, 2005 at 10:01:00 AM PST, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"And why should anyone accept his predictions over Campbell's when he has no proof, whatsoever."

He DOES have proof. He's been disproving Lord Campbell since 1989. Campbell is the one who keeps pushing his date further and Lynch is the one who says that he'll keep doing it. Lynch has been hounding Campbell successfully. What exactly was Campbell's "Proof" that we couldn't pump pass the 64 mpd marker? Lynch's proof is his track record versus Campbell and Campbell's proof is the doomers who want to rally around him every time he's wrong and say "Well, that's not the REALLY important thing!"

No one will ever give Lynch a fiar shake and that's fine with me. Just makes you look that much sillier when Campbell ramps up the prediction AGAIN.


Post a Comment

<< Home