His breakthrough is to use a petri dish:
“Bacteria in a Petri dish will grow until they fill the dish, consume all the nutrients within it, and then die,” he says. “Earth is mankind’s Petri dish and we don’t really know how big it is. But we do know that it is finite and thus our population cannot grow indefinitely. Either we will control our population, or it will be controlled for us.” That latter scenario is one filled with mass starvation and violence as individuals and societies fight for their survival.
A cheery start to the day but there is more.
In his book, Wood details the cause of man’s exponential population growth. “Behavioral modifications were introduced by the process that caused evolution to occur early in the development of multi-celled life in order to ensure species survival,” he says. “These are the root cause of our propensity for excess population.” By their nature, he explains, these modifications cannot be de-selected or species survival would be imperiled
Wood, and many scientists, see population control as mankind’s only hope for survival. “It’s the elephant in the room,” he says. “We know Earth can not continue to sustain us. People discuss what to do about it, but are afraid to look at the only real answer, population control—family planning—because it is so controversial.” It is especially abhorrent to many religions.
The retired physicist dedicates much of his new book to a detailed explanation of evolution as well as an exploration of why humans first embraced creationism and then later intelligent design. He says he wrote his controversial book because he believes if people understand why we have the population explosion, we are more likely to take action to control it.
Just as evolution provided humans with the drive to reproduce, it also provided us with the cerebral cortex, enabling higher brain functions including reasoning. “Humans have the means for coping with the problem,” says Wood. “What is uncertain is whether we will use it. The fate of the human race is going to be determined by whether science wins, or superstition does.”
His conclusion could be considered in some quarters to be controversial - does science winning mean Malthus winning eventually?
The fate of the human race is going to be determined by whether science wins, or superstition does.