The Inability of Humans to Understand Growth
Albert Bartlett is a modern day Malthusian on a mission. Bartlett is physicist who claims that “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function”. He points out what is undeniable: that at current growth rates the world population will have to decline within a period of historical rather than geological time (i.e. not that long), or we will not have enough room to stand up, let alone farm, and that this decline can only come about through a finite number of means: contraception, abortion, disease, war, famine.
With this knowledge, people who are against contraception, the item on this list which will cause the least suffering, are extremely dangerous.
If you believe that the exponential rise in population which coincides exactly with the use of fossil fuels has something to do with fossil fuels; if you believe that the geometric (i.e. non Malthusian) increase in the efficiency of farming through oil based products has something do with oil, then its even more imperative to start listening to people like Bartlett.
Unfortunately a large percentage of the population would rather believe that the cause of our prosperity is due to either the Dancing Wuli Masters, the ascendancy of Mars in Capricorn or the miracle of the image of Jesus Christ in a damp stain on a shit-house door in Ohio. Many of the same people think that we absolutely must breed like rabbits because a garbled, Greek translation of a late Bronze Age folk tale, called The Bible, modified through centuries of the game of Telephone, says so. Is it surprising that these people fail to understand the exponential function?