Father of Overpopulation Myth Condemns Large Families

Paul Ehrlich, the man whose controversial 1968 book The Population Bomb became the bible of the population control movement, recently condemned people with large families, saying they shouldn’t be allowed to procreate at will.

CNSNews.com is reporting on an interview Ehrlich had with Raw Story, a liberal news/blog site, in which he warned of the “dangerous trends” in climate change and overpopulation the world is now facing that he believes threaten our extinction.“Giving people the right to have as many people, as many children that they want is, I think, a bad idea,” Ehrlich said.

“Nobody, in my view, has the right to have 12 children or even three unless the second pregnancy is twins,” he added.

Ehrlich, who is the Bing Professor of Population Studies at Stanford University, published an article along with his wife Anne in a journal of the London Royal Society in which he cites serious environmental problems that can only be avoided with “unprecedented levels of unprecedented levels of international cooperation through multiple civil and political organizations.”

However, reducing the population faces “great social and psychological barriers” – including religion – which might make solutions to this problem impossible.

“This is especially true because of the ‘endarkenment’– a rapidly growing movement towards religious orthodoxies that reject enlightenment values such as freedom of thought, democracy, separation of church and state, and basing beliefs and actions on empirical evidence,” the Ehrlichs wrote.

“They are manifest in dangerous trends such as climate denial, failure to act on the loss of biodiversity and opposition to condoms (for AIDS control) as well as other forms of contraception. . . . If ever there was a time for evidence-based — as opposed to faith-based — risk reduction strategies, it is now,” they wrote.

These aren’t the first predictions of catastrophe issued by Ehrlich. His 1968 book predicted severe famines, social unrest and other negative consequences of over-population that never materialized. In a 2009 article entitled The Population Bomb Revisted,” he tried to explain away these false prophecies, claiming that he never said they would happen as predicted.

” . . .(T)heir failure to occur is often cited as a failure of prediction. In honesty, the scenarios were way off, especially in their timing (we underestimated the resilience of the world system),” he wrote.  “But they did deal with future issues that people in 1968 should have been thinking about.”

He went on to state that he stands behind the central thesis of his most controversial work, saying its message is as relevant today as it was in 1968.

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