October 2010
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A battle of red herrings: let’s move on from over-population

Tomorrow, at the Upper Gulbenkian Gallery at the Royal College of Art, the 2010 “Battle of Ideas” debate will be taking place, on the subject of “overpopulation”. The theme of the debate will be “The great population debate: too many carbon footprints?” and the speakers will be Roger Martin of the Optimum Population Trust and Brendan O’Neill, editor of Spiked magazine. The debate promises to be one where one speaker presents a doom and gloom scenario (à la Thomas Malthus) about how dreadfully over-populated the planet is based on some back-of-an-envelope ecological footprint calculations, and the other speaker claiming that the first speaker is scaremongering and that we’ve heard these predictions of disaster before, but they’ve never come to light, so we shouldn’t be worried, and population control is coercive and unethical.

Sigh.

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“More research is needed.” No it isn’t.

A couple of months ago, at around 11:30pm one evening, I had an idea for a journal article. The next morning, I started writing it, and by 11:30pm that evening, working non-stop, I’d finished. The article was in the form of a systematic review: a type of study that usually takes months of […]

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