Recently Bill Nye’s Netflix show concluded with a final episode that discussed one of the left’s favorite myths, overpopulation, and yet more ways to try and control population growth – one of the left’s favorite activities when they fall into the pattern of thinking that the problem is too many humans of the wrong sort. While that is a road that leads down to many of the atrocities leftist governments have perpetrated in the past few centuries, I think it’s worth pointing out just how much of an anti-science myth the left’s notion of overpopulation is.

  • The myth was popularized by Paul Ehrlich in 1968 in his book, The Population Bomb, which predicted mass starvation and water shortages through the 1970s and 1980s, with a population boom, followed by a population bust from all of the ensuing problems.
  • Obviously, that didn’t happen. The predictions were dead wrong.
  • The fundamental assumptions of doom the theory was built on were also wrong: the mass starvation and dehydration were based on bad math that assumed no societal improvement in agriculture or water management. Geniuses like Norman Borlaug found ways to feed billions more people.
  • The fundamental assumptions of population growth the theory predicted were also wrong: As societies transition into modern, first-world societies the number of children women tend to have on average go down, to around 1.5. Demographers believe that the world population will stabilize at around or under 12 billion – only 50% more crowded than today.
  • The fundamental premise that the planet is overcrowded is flat-out wrong. 47% of the U.S. is uninhabited, and even crowded states on the eastern seaboard have numerous square kilometers without a single person living in them. The majority of Asia is virtually uninhabited. Not all uninhabited space is suitable for living in, but most of it is uninhabited primarily because it is far from existing civilization, not because it is otherwise too harsh to live in.
  • Other resource scarcity pseudo-science theories that become vogue on the left, such as peak oil are similarly wrong based just on economics: they’re doing a future projection based off of a static view of the current situation. In reality, technology is constantly making oil production and consumption more efficient, and any time the price increases on a basic resource such as oil from lack of supply, that is extra incentive to find new supplies, alternatives, or increased efficiencies. The situation predicted by peak oil theorists, if it ever happens, will occur so gently and gradually via market forces that hardly anyone will notice that we’ve switched our energy source to something else.
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