Predictably Pointless Population Panic

Why we’re seeing yet another classic example of failure to think ahead when it comes to demographics

Allan Milne Lees
14 min readMay 22, 2024
Image credit: Ngala.com

When trying to understand human behavior it’s generally helpful to remember that our brains are just as much the product of millions of years of evolution as our bodies. This means there are things our brains can do, and plenty of things our brains cannot do. Unfortunately, while the things our bodies cannot do are obvious to us — we can’t fly by flapping our arms, we can’t extract oxygen from water by inhaling it, and we can’t run faster than cheetahs — the things our brains cannot do are hidden. Consequently we over-estimate the power of the human intellect and that leads to the intellectual equivalent of jumping off a precipice because we’re convinced that if we flap our arms quickly enough we’ll soar into the air.

In reality, we crash into the ground.

But instead of acknowledging these limitation-based failures we simply conjure up excuses and learn nothing from them.

While this unfortunate and persistent trait does provide a rich seam to be mined continually by satirists and others who make their living by mocking our foibles and failures, it leads to very low-quality outcomes in the real world. Periodically these outcomes are worse…

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Allan Milne Lees

Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.