22 July 2009

Much Ado About Very Little

Conservatives are going after John Holdren, President Obama's science advisor, based on some things that he wrote more than 30 years ago. In a nice overview of the controversy, Michelle Goldberg writes at The American Prospect,
On July 10, a Web site called Zombietime published scans of various offending passages from the textbook, Ecoscience. Reading them, it's hard not to conclude that the authors looked kindly on government-mandated limits on fertility. "In today's world, however, the number of children in a family is a matter of profound public concern," they wrote. "For example, no one may lawfully have more than one spouse at a time. Why should the law not be able to prevent people from having more than two children?

Elsewhere, the authors consider the possibility of adding a sterilant to "drinking water or staple foods." Ultimately, they decide that the risk of side effects "would, in our opinion, militate against the use of any such agent," though there's something disturbing about the equanimity with which they consider it. They also toy with draconian proposals for encouraging "responsible parenthood," including mandating that all "illegitimate" births be put up for adoption and requiring pregnant single women to marry or have abortions.

The political right predictably seized on the opportunity -- for instance, at Fox News James Pinkerton goes way over the top,
That's right, there's a genuine big shot inside the White House who has advocated the sort of population-control policies that we associate with Hitler, Stalin, Mao, and power-drunk mad scientists in science-fiction movies. And President Obama appointed him . . .
The attacks on Holdren have motivated a formal response from Holdren's office, seeking to distance him from the comments in the book with the Ehrlichs:
This material is from a three-decade-old, three-author college textbook. Dr. Holdren addressed this issue during his confirmation when he said he does not believe that determining optimal population is a proper role of government. Dr. Holdren is not and never has been an advocate for policies of forced sterilization.
Again, writing at The American Prospect Goldberg is right on the mark when she warns liberals against reflexivly trying to rewrite history, calling out in particular Chris Mooney, who implausibly and somehwhat laughably seems to think that the Ehrlichs and Holdren were against coercive population control policies. (Mooney increasingly seems to have trouble with simple facts.) Goldberg's reasoned views are worth quoting at length:
Few liberals paid much attention, and some of those that did dismissed the whole thing. At Scienceblogs.com, Nick Anthis argued that if the story sounds "just a bit too absurd to be true," that's because it is. He linked to a piece by Chris Mooney, a writer who has done invaluable work fighting right-wing attacks on science. "The book is three decades old; Holdren isn't its first author; it takes a stance against such policies; and neither Holdren nor the Ehrlichs support these policies today, either," wrote Mooney. "Couldn't we talk about something that's actually important and contemporary?"

These defenses seem a bit reflexive. No one, after all, is denying the authenticity of these quotations, and there's little point in pretending that they aren't morally outrageous. What's worse, hysteria over overpopulation in the 1970s did real damage to today's fight against global warming. Since the deadly catastrophes predicted by people like Ehrlich never came to pass, conservatives can argue that environmentalists cried wolf once before and are now doing so again.

Nevertheless, it's worthwhile to understand the context in which Holdren and the Ehrlichs were writing. It doesn't excuse them, but it does go a ways toward explaining how a decent person could have supported such awful ideas. In the 1970s, it was widely accepted by most serious people that overpopulation was a major planetary emergency. Many expected imminent widespread starvation, global upheaval, and mass death. "Success in the population field, under United Nations leadership, may, in turn, determine whether we can resolve successfully the other great questions of peace, prosperity, and individual rights that face the world," wrote George H. W. Bush in 1973. (Indeed, Bush was nicknamed "Rubbers" because of his obsession with family planning.)

And yet there was a growing sense that things weren't moving fast enough and that Malthusian disasters lurked on the horizon. In 1975, a then-classified National Security Council report outlined the dangers that rapid population growth posed to global stability. The report recommended expanding access to voluntary methods of family planning, but under the heading "An Alternative View," it broached the case for coercion. A "growing number of experts," it said, were predicting widespread food shortages and other "demographic catastrophes … in the words of [British scientist and writer] C.P. Snow, we shall be watching people starve on television." The conclusion of this view, it said, "is that mandatory programs may be needed and that we should be considering these possibilities now." It's not surprising that these ideas made it into a comprehensive textbook, since they were very much in the air.

Steven Sinding, a Columbia professor and the former head of both International Planned Parenthood and of the population division at USAID, knew Holdren during those years and shared his concerns.

The Ehrlichs, he says, "were among the leaders in this country of people who were sounding the alarm about the population explosion. Holdren was very much a part of that group. At the time, this was not regarded as radical. It was regarded as intellectuals who were really very serious about the threat of overpopulation and were speculating about alternative approaches to population control," a term then in vogue.

Of course, the fact that such views were taken seriously hardly exonerates those who espoused them. Nevertheless, it does help us understand why a young scientist might entertain them. More important, though, is the fact that Holdren seems to have changed with the times and that he went on to help those working against the population control paradigm.

If anything, the episode is a minor embarrassment for Holdren, whose long and distinguished career has resulted in a change in perspective over time, but also leaving evidence of formerly held views in the academic record. It shows that conservatives are pretty desperate for slime, but also perhaps smelling blood in the water with the ongoing legislative stumbles over health care and cap and trade. But while it is of some minor interest, it is pretty much a non-issue from the standpoint of contemporary policy debates.

In researching this issue I came across an article by Ehrlich and Holdren on population growth and technology from 1969 in which they suggest that investing in vasectomies rather than building nuclear power plants might be a better investment. Sounds kind of silly 40 years later (though surely some will write in the comments that their ideas remain sound;-) Here is how they end that article:
The decision for population control will be opposed by growth-minded economists and businessmen, by nationalistic statesmen, by zealous religious leaders, and by the myopic and well-fed of every description. It is therefore incumbent on all who sense the limitations of technology and the fragility of the environmental balance to make themselves heard above the hollow, optimistic chorus-to convince society and its leaders that there is no alternative but the cessation of our irresponsible, all-demanding, and all-consuming population growth.
Holdren (and his colleagues) turned to to be wrong on this issue. So what? It is an occupational hazard in policy analysis. The important thing is that Holdren seems to have learned from that experience and now holds different views. Good for him.

36 comments:

  1. This brings up an interesting political question--are some views so abhorrent that even renouncing them, you can be called to account for holding those views at any time in your life? That question is somewhat rhetorical--if a conservative nominee for a government position had expressed a viewpoint that women were possibly less able in the "hard sciences", my guess his confirmation would be a nightmare. And, honestly, probably justifiably.

    I think Holdren's published views here may be equally disqualifying, especially since there seems to be no public, published evidence that he changed his mind; just silence.

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  2. Roger - you seem to be asserting what is still at issue. Did he really learn from the experience? What we know from your article here is that after being proven wrong on the issue, he now admits that he was wrong in his prediction. But what of the ideology that led to the prediction? Ehrlich had a profoundly pessimistic view of man and the modern world. I think it is reasonable to assume that Holder shared that pessimism. The important question is whether he learned that our constant innovation - the heart of the modern technological world - can overcome the logic of Malthus.

    You seem sanguine that he has "leaned from the experience." Given the great similarities between Ehrlich's population apocalyptics and contemporary global warming hysteria, it seems to me much more likely that he - along with so many others - have just swapped one error for another.

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  3. -2-Mark

    Holdren's statement says what it says -- I am going by the published record. If you have other evidence, please share it. This post is not about Holdren's views on climate policy (or science policy or anything else). Thanks!

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  4. Resolve this statement:

    Why should the law not be able to prevent people from having more than two children?

    Against this one:

    Dr. Holdren is not and never has been an advocate for policies of forced sterilization.

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  5. Roger,
    Since you were only 11 years old in 1977 you can be forgiven the youthful view that what happened so long ago has no relevance to today. I can’t share that viewpoint.

    In 1977 my son was ten years old and we were already living in the house where I’m writing this comment. My core values haven’t changed since 1977.

    1n 1977 John Holdren had been a PhD for seven years and was teaching at UC Berkeley. He was a mature adult with core values to guide his actions. The best spin for his book was that it was an amoral, purely analytical work based on facts he understood then.

    Since Ecoscience was a course book issued when President Obama was about twenty years old it would be interesting to know if young Barack Obama read and was influenced by the work of professor John Holdren of Berkeley.

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  6. Hi Roger,

    "The important thing is that Holdren seems to have learned from that experience and now holds different views. Good for him."

    Yes, as H.L. Mencken pointed out, there's always a new hobgoblin from which the masses can clamor to be protected.

    Just last night, there was a program on the History Channel about potential disasters that threatened to wipe out much or all human life on the planet. I channel-surfed in late, so I just got the "top" threats.

    Number two was biological hazards, including natural and man-made. They offered the scenario that someone might genetically modify an Ebola-like (hemorrhagic) virus to spread via the air, like the common cold. Their estimate was that, if spread through airports, the result could be over a billion deaths.

    So that was number two. Guess what number one was? Of course...climate change! They got James Hansen to speculate about sea levels rising 40 feet, and claiming 50 percent of all species would become extinct. (Then they even asked the real expert--Al Gore!--what the consequences of a 20-40 foot rise in sea level would be.)

    Mark

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  7. "Resolve this statement:

    Why should the law not be able to prevent people from having more than two children?

    Against this one:

    Dr. Holdren is not and never has been an advocate for policies of forced sterilization."

    Forced abortions would be one method to resolve the potential conflict.

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  8. Why does it matter that "conservatives are going after" Holdren? Or that it was "thirty years ago"? Is it illegitimate to concentrate on what the man wrote?

    If those passages had turned up several years ago written by a figure in the Bush administration (let alone his science advisor!), would liberal groups have gone after him? Would that have been legitimate?

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  9. -8-Jack

    It is not illegitimate to focus on what the man wrote, I am doing so with this post. I just don't think that it happens to be a big deal.

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  10. Roger:
    "[Alternative approaches to population control] is pretty much a non-issue from the standpoint of contemporary policy debates."
    How about Pelosi's equation of family planning as "fiscal stimulus"; Obama's apparent support of infanticide for survivors of botched abortions and his recent "take a pill" advice for a then 100 year old heart patient (who, in the end, received a pacemaker); Daschle's continued advocacy for government controlled "quality life year calculations" in dispensing medicine; and the ever present philosopy of the "duty to die".

    I understand that Holdren was on the board of The MacArthur Foundation from 1991 to 2005. One of its major goals is to reduce "population momentum" by increasing the "interval between generations" - postponing the first born, thereby, the Foundation says, reducing "maternal mortality and morbidity". It advocates for women "the legal environment that discourages unsafe abortions" which, the Foundation claims, is a major cause of maternal death and morbidity.
    Population control appears to be a major perspective for Holdren notwithstanding his confirmation hearing testimony that government should not have a role in "optimum population", and he had merely found a tenable "frame" within which to operate under that perspective.
    I liken that testimony to his lashing out at the media for his flip-flop remark on "geoengineering", blaming the media for having to answer to the President - it was a diversion from the truth.

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  11. I am doing so with this post

    With all due respect, normally when you focus on what someone wrote, you quote their writing and discuss it directly. As Jaye points out above, you even allow a blatantly false statement from his staff to pass without comment.

    Had this been a figure in the Bush administration, not only you but the national media would have been much more interested in it.

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  12. -11-Jack

    I agree that if an important Bush Administration official was involved in a controversy about compulsory abortions, it would have indeed been a big deal;-)

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  13. Columbia Magazine just put out an article on the history of the population control debate and the more recent discussions regarding it. Overlooking certain aspects of article which, personaly, rubs me the wrong way, it is a nice little background. In theory I suppose, if the issue gains momentum then Holdren beocmes a hero, fighting for decades to bring attention to an important issue. If it falls by the wayside then yes, much ado about very little... Timing is everything. (www.columbia.edu/cu/alumni/Magazine/Summer2009/feature4.html)

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  14. Hmmmmm, after the outrageous slanders Ted Kennedy slimed Bork with and the viciousness of the defamation of Judge Pickering, to cite two of the many hatchet jobs by the left, it's pretty ridiculous to characterize this as "desparate for slime". If you want a recent example of really desparate for slime, try the bizarre slime hurled at Sarah Palin last fall.

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  15. I'm afraid I see little evidence that Holdren has learned anything from his youthful errors. Sure he admits in public he was wrong (whether he really has changed his mind is quite another matter, but let's give him that), but he's just moved from backing one ill-founded alarmist position to backing another.

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  16. -11- Jack Stevens

    "As Jaye points out above, you (Roger) even allow a blatantly false statement from his staff to pass without comment."

    If you're referring to Jaye's comment #4, as I noted in my comment #7, the conundrum is resolved by concluding that Dr. Holdren was advocating forced abortions, rather than forced sterilizations.

    Of course, many might consider it spin or misdirection to make the statement that Dr. Holdren had not advocated forced sterilizations, while omitting that Dr. Holden had instead advocated forced abortions.

    And many might consider advocacy of forced abortions to be even more morally reprehensible than forced sterilizations.

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  17. Roger,

    Which Obama administration extremist do you plan to defend next?

    Carol Browner, perhaps?

    Wouldn’t that be ironic?

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  18. -16- markbahner

    And many might consider advocacy of forced abortions to be even more morally reprehensible than forced sterilizations.

    And what have you accomplished with such ridiculous hairsplitting?

    In fact, Prof. Holdren himself appears to have seen forced abortions as more morally reprehensible than forced sterilizations -- but was nevertheless willing to countenance them -- as he wrote (my emphasis):

    "compulsory population-control laws, even including laws requiring compulsory abortion, could be sustained under the existing Constitution."

    So he didn't care. The point is, he was defending compulsory population-control laws.

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  19. Roger:
    You are raising an interesting ethical issue - when is it OK for "intellectuals" to advocate policies that many find ethically repugnant, e.g., forced sterilizations and abortions. It is the presumptive assumption of being moral arbiters and, at the same time, the non-reflective advocacy of such polices that some, including me, find problematic.

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  20. -19-Bernie

    A good question.

    "Intellectuals" is a big category and includes people as diverse as Peter Singer and Thomas Sowell, each seeking to offer some "moral arbitration." Similarly there is plenty of room for more wonky perspectives such as those of John Holdren and Bjorn Lomborg (or Paul Ehrlich and Julian Simon).

    Diversity is a good thing among intellectuals, and by definition means that there will be views offered that every one of us finds problematic. Efforts to close down that diversity (see, Holdren vs. Lomborg) are more problematic in my view than the problematic views themselves, if that makes sense.

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  21. Roger,

    You state that "If anything, the episode is a minor embarrassment for Holdren, whose long and distinguished career has resulted in a change in perspective over time."

    On June 16, 2009, you asked "But more problematically, why is a report characterized by Science Advisor John Holdren as being the "most up-to-date, authoritative, and comprehensive" analysis relying on a secondary, non-peer source citing another non-peer reviewed source from 2000 to support a claim that a large amount of uncited and more recent peer reviewed literature says the opposite about?"

    In his testimony to the Senate Commerce Committee on February 12, 2009 Holdren gave the following testimony in response to questions from Senator Vitter:

    Vitter: OK. Another statement. In 1986, you predicted that global warming could cause the deaths of one billion people by 2020. Would you stick to that statement today?

    Holdren: Well, again, I wouldn’t have called it a prediction then, and I wouldn’t call it a prediction now. I think it is unlikely to happen, but it is …

    Vitter (interrupting): Do you think it could happen?

    Holdren: I think it could happen, and the way it could happen is climate crosses a tipping point in which a catastrophic degree of climate change has severe impacts on global agriculture. A lot of people depend on that…

    Vitter (interrupting): So you would stick to that statement?

    Holdren: I don’t think it’s likely. I think we should invest effort - considerable effort - to reduce the likelihood further.

    Vitter: So you would stick to the statement that it could happen?

    Holdren: It could happen, and ...

    Vitter (interrupting): One billion by 2020?

    Holdren: It could.


    Based on your June 16, 2009, criticism of Holdren and his February 12, 2009, testimony, which seems overblown, his statements do not strike me as those of a distinguished scientist.

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  22. -21-roa

    It is possible to strongly disagree with someone's views and at the same time recognize that their career has been distinguished.

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  23. Roger - To say Holdren's moral positions are a "very little" matter is irresponsible. There are many people who center the debate on science and it's use and the environmental problem specifically in the moral sphere. You could even disagree with the claim that morality is so central, but given the cultural climate and the number of proponents of this position, Holdren's moral views are a very important matter.

    Take Pope Benedict's encyclical (highest level of Catholic official document after a council -issued last week) which has the most extensive articulated Catholic position on the environment yet, and the 64 million people (USA) his ideas represent, :

    "the decisive issue is the overall moral tenor of society. If there is a lack of respect to the right to life and to natural death, if human conception, gestation and birth are made artificial, if human embryos are sacrificed to research, the conscience of society ends up losing the concept of human ecology and along with it that of environmental ecology. It is contradictory to insist that future generations respect the natural environment when our educational system and laws do not help to respect themselves... It would be wrong to uphold one set of duties while trampling on the other. Herein lies a grave contradiction in our mentality and practice today: one which demeans the person, disrupts the environment and damages society."

    Holdren's views are "very little"?

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  24. Roger:
    I believe that many see a huge diference between what one believes others should do and arguing that the state should "make" people do the same thing. Not all policy wonks are equivalent - for example those who argue that the debate over AGW is over and we should just do whatever is necessary to reduce GHG emissions. IMO, Sowell is not equivalent to Singer. It is the advocating of coercive action that makes many people very suspicious about those who want to force people to do what they believe is the right thing to do.

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  25. 18-Jack Stephens

    You ask me, "And what have you accomplished by such ridiculous hairsplitting?"

    Jack, you should read more carefully.

    In comment #11 you wrote to Roger, "As Jaye points out above, you even allow a blatantly false statement from his staff to pass without comment."

    But as I pointed out in comment #7, the statement, "Dr. Holdren is not and never has been an advocate for policies of forced sterilization"...

    ...is not "blatantly false."

    Dr. Holden did not advocate for policies of forced sterilization...he advocated for policies of forced *abortion.*

    And if you want my opinion, that's even worse. Both are morally reprehensible, but forced abortions are even *more* morally reprehensible than forced sterilizations.

    Just think about it...a woman who has already had two children being arrested, thrown in prison, and then having her third child forcibly aborted. It's monstrous.

    The fact that the Ehrlichs and John Holdren apparently*** didn't express even the slightest moral qualms about that situation says volumes about their characters.

    ***P.S. I haven't read the whole chapter or book, but the "Zombietime" blog has copies of whole pages, so it's not like there's just a snippet that could be easily misinterpreted.

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  26. Gotta love how the writings of this guy 30 years ago, in a time when what we might now call a sensationalist or Malthusian focus on overpopulation was rather common, is so controversial.

    Here in India, we get far more fabulously earnest prescriptions, with hardly a blip on the radar. It's not obligatory abortions or whatever you call 'em, but it is pretty wacky: http://www.ippf.org/NR/exeres/87656AB7-04B9-4996-8ADF-060A71ABE1B7.htm.

    TVs. Yes, TVs.

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  27. It was shockingly poor analysis at the time - it's popularity in certain "policy circles" is irrelevant.

    How can you wave away a shocking CV in such a cavalier fashion?

    I can't believe there aren't better candidates out there.

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  28. First of all, the population bomb hypothesis was not a 'widely held view' in the 1970s, except, perhaps, in certain academic circles and environmental organizations. The vast majority of the population thought the predictions were far too extreme and unfounded. Aside from the constant practice of taking worst case scenarios for every variable, the population bomb theory ignored the fact that humans and the environment are very adaptable and in constant flux, i.e., non-linear. In a nutshell, it was sensationalism, not science. That is why all of its 'predictions' were wrong.

    The M.O. of John Holdren's current view on climate change is basically the same: focus on worst case scenarios and assumptions, while ignoring the adaptability and non-linear nature of the world. Once again we have doomsday predictions and the advocacy of draconian regulations and laws to avert the 'disaster' is already in play.

    How much damage would have been done if the whole world embraced the ideas of Ehrlich and Holdren 30 years ago? I have always believed that the threat from such people is far greater than any possible climate change. That has certainly been the case over the last century.

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  29. "invaluable work fighting right wing attacks on science"

    I'm not going to take anything the partisan who wrote that says seriously.

    And one wonders why anti GM advocates aren't "anti-science"-oh yeah, I forgot, scientists are inclined to their political views (smart people are so irritatingly stupid) so it's okay for them to distort science.

    But if you are a Republican and happen to think that individual liberty is more important than some environmental "crisis"-watch out! That's attacking science.

    You know, Marx called the nonsense he was doing science, too.

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  30. The biggest obstacle we face in changing attitudes toward overpopulation is economists. Since the field of economics was branded "the dismal science" after Malthus' theory, economists have been adamant that they would never again consider the subject of overpopulation and continue to insist that man is ingenious enough to overcome any obstacle to further growth. This is why world leaders continue to ignore population growth in the face of mounting challenges like peak oil, global warming and a whole host of other environmental and resource issues. They believe we'll always find technological solutions that allow more growth.

    But because they are blind to population growth, there's one obstacle they haven't considered: the finiteness of space available on earth. The very act of using space more efficiently creates a problem for which there is no solution: it inevitably begins to drive down per capita consumption and, consequently, per capita employment, leading to rising unemployment and poverty.

    If you‘re interested in learning more about this important new economic theory, then I invite you to visit either of my web sites at OpenWindowPublishingCo.com or PeteMurphy.wordpress.com where you can read the preface, join in the blog discussion and, of course, buy the book if you like.

    Please forgive the somewhat spammish nature of the previous paragraph, but I don't know how else to inject this new theory into the debate about overpopulation without drawing attention to the book that explains the theory.

    Pete Murphy
    Author, "Five Short Blasts"

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  31. "The M.O. of John Holdren's current view on climate change is basically the same: focus on worst case scenarios and assumptions, while ignoring the adaptability and non-linear nature of the world. Once again we have doomsday predictions and the advocacy of draconian regulations and laws to avert the 'disaster'..."

    Yes, it's strange to me that Roger seems to be compartmentalizing John Holdren's views on population as though they have no relationship to other very current and relevant subjects, e.g., global warming.

    As Roa noted in comment #21, Holdren's defense of his 1986 prediction that one billion people could be killed by CO2 emissions by 2020 was nothing short of ridiculous.

    If I had been in Senator Vitter's place, I would not have let Holdren get away so easily with his insistence that 1 billion people "could" be killed by CO2 by 2020. I would have insisted he come up with a numerical estimate for the probability he is associating with "could."

    And if he quoted odds of say, 1 in 10, I would volunteered to bet him up to $1000, at whatever odds he quoted, that a mutually-agreed-upon panel of 5 scientists would not agree in 2020 that 1 billion people had been killed by CO2 from 1986 to 2020.

    And if he quoted odds of say, 100 to 1, or 1000 to 1, I would have asked him why he didn't think that it was appropriate, as a scientist, for him to divulge that the "could" meant such incredibly long odds. (And I also would have challenged him to a $1 bet, at whatever odds he quoted, that a mutually-agreed-upon panel of 5 scientists would not agree in 2020 that 1 billion people had been killed by CO2 from 1986 to 2020.)

    I consider apocalyptic predictions that are unsupported by science, of the type John Holdren has repeatedly made in his career, to be a form of scientific malpractice. So I don't consider it to be "Much Ado About Very Little," especially considering that the person in question is the director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

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  32. 30 -- Pete Murphy

    "But because they (economists) are blind to population growth,..."

    Economists are blind to population growth. They understand that larger populations contribute to greater economic growth:

    http://www.stanford.edu/~chadj/Kaldor200.pdf

    What they don't understand (yet) is that in a fairly short time (<30 years) computers will equal and then vastly exceed the human brain in capability.

    This will raise the effective "human" population to essentially infinity, and will likely dramatically increase world economic growth:

    http://markbahner.typepad.com/random_thoughts/2005/11/why_economic_gr.html

    "The very act of using space more efficiently creates a problem for which there is no solution: it inevitably begins to drive down per capita consumption and, consequently, per capita employment, leading to rising unemployment and poverty."

    Size doesn't have anything with value. Computers are getting smaller and smaller, but they are becoming a larger and larger part of the economy.

    In order to understand economic growth, one needs to know what creates wealth. Human minds (free human minds) are what create wealth. The more free human minds (or their functional equivalent) the more wealth.

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  33. Distinguished career? Elite academia must consider a peer, even one of reprehensible beliefs and views superior to the unenlightened masses. The man is a disgrace to science and your defense of him is a disgrace to you someone whom I previously respected.

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  34. Oops. In 32, I meant to write:

    Economists are *not* blind to population growth. They understand that larger populations contribute to greater economic growth...

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  35. I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.


    Deborah

    http://maternitymotherhood.net

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  36. In 1973 Dr. Holdren coauthored a book with Paul and Anne Erlich, “Human Ecology: Problems and Solutions.” On page235, Chapter 8 they write "The fetus, given the opportunity to develop properly before birth, and given the essential early socializing experiences and sufficient nourishing food during the crucial early years after birth, will ultimately develop into a human being,”
    The above statements are from CNS News:
    http://www.cnsnews.com/public/content/article.aspx?RsrcID=51676

    Does someone have to be a zealous right-winger to think the statement quoted above is extremist?

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