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Really, Neil? Really?

"If we continue increasing the population of the Earth as we have been over the past decade or so, 500 years from now there will only be enough room on Earth's surface for everyone to only stand up straight." — NdGT

Oh, this again. Excuse me, but wasn't that what we used to hear about the year 2020 back in 1980!? That by the rates of population growth we had back then, there would come a point where people would only have enough space to stand on top of each other?

One would expect from a scientist who likes to present himself as an advocate of reason and critical thinking, to know a thing or two about the complexity of demographic systems, the huge palette of factors bringing a certain level of self-regulation to population (even with the added factor of modern technology developing at an almost exponential rate), etc. But no, he aimed for the scandalous, the sensationalist and the alarmist.

I'm not saying overpopulation isn't one of the major problems that humankind has to address on a long-term basis. We do need smart decisions and policies in that respect, and it's a complex process that's not going to be easy at all – for sure. But abandoning reason and speaking nonsense in your attempt to dumb science down to pander to the lowest denominator – now THAT is something that tends to chip large chunks off a scientist's credibility. It does a disservice to science. And I'm saying that as someone who truly loves and enjoys Neil's work.

Source: Talk politics.

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