Cassandra in college

Scott reviews the case of Paul Ehrlich in describing Uncommon Knowledge with Matt Ridley. Professor Ehrlich is perhaps the poster boy for the baby boomer chicken little Cassandras who forecast doom and gloom, real soon, for the entire planet based upon anything man touches.

The first case was world starvation predicted in 1968. Another is the famous 1980 ‘basket of commodities’ bet with Julian Simon. Ehrlich was guided by the academic who is now President Obama’s Science advisor but he lost the bet on all counts.

Credentialed intellectuals, too — actually, especially — illustrate Montaigne’s axiom: ‘Nothing is so firmly believed as what we least know.'” There is much more to the story, making it of current interest, as John Hinderaker noted in “Politicizing science.”

It is a form of hubris greatly exaggerating mankind’s importance on the planet, much less in the universe. It consistently comes up against reality but the proponents and advocates never seem to learn.

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