Home | About | Donate

Nobel Prize Winners Name Trump and His 'Ignorance' as Top Threats to World Population

Nobel Prize Winners Name Trump and His 'Ignorance' as Top Threats to World Population

Julia Conley, staff writer

Along with nuclear war and climate change, President Donald Trump has made the list of what Nobel Laureates consider to be major risks to the world population.


Interesting and good to know. Although the title of article is true, I was hoping all of those polled felt this way.

Good article.

" Trump has made the list of what Nobel Laureates consider to be major risks to the world population. "

When Trump proclaims climate change to be a " CHINESE HOAX" he only shows how ignorant he is about the subject and thinks he is more intelligent than reputable climate scientists.

The real hoax, is the Trump hoax!


Can ignorance be a consequence of our educational system which discourages skepticism and questioning? Is this why the president is able to take the positions he does. He, too, seems to be a product of that system. Is it time for the public to take back their country?


I wonder if the people who voted for Trump should be added to the list. What does it say about voters who voted for a scam artist fascist white supremacist who claims he doesn’t have the time to read books and probably doesn’t have the attention span to read more than one or two pages anyway?


Considering he went to the University of Pennsylvania it is pretty hard to blame our educational system. Something else must be the explanation for his ignorance. Was he a good student in high school? How did get accepted by Wharton?

I’d say a large part of the blame lies with the Democrats who pushed such a horribly unpopular and untrustworthy candidate on the population while completely sidelining the candidate who could have easily beaten the Orange Psychopath. Time to look in the mirror and see what absolute adherence to a party and a complete rejection of the public will does.


Social scientists might shed some light on the relationship between fundamentalist religious beliefs and what has been called in a lukewarm manner, “populism.”
Those less formally (or coherently. Early social experience includes exposure to a culture’s answers to the complexity of the world in which they live) educated and those more stressed, toward such psychological cognitive heuristics and biases as overgeneralization, stereotyping.
Even the problems of priming and numeric anchoring play a part in misattribution and mistakes in judgment due to mistaken representativeness - stereotyping…

The availability of an event - how often and how powerfully an imagined outcome comes to mind, can affect an individual’s fear and arousal. Consequent obsession may drive their voting responses, and worse, self-protective actions. Pre-emptive violence is a characteristic of much religious-based magical thiniking.
Magical thinking, the attribution of causality without direct connection, is a massively common cognitive misattribution, participated in by most of humanity.

We know this failure to reflect in favor of rejection, occurs everywhere in the human experience; it is not merely restricted to a few within any one nation or culture.

Misattribution occurs in economics, even among the top employed thinkers.
If one begins with unexamined presumptions, one can remain biased enough to choose erroneous conclusions, as cascades of uncertainties occur due to the inherent complexity of any system.
In other, by seeking certainty and avoiding uncertainty in stressful situations, perhaps all make mistakes.

I mentioned economics, because ecosystems are commonly described in such terms, as is behavior.
Of course, social and marketing economic choices and strategies include the practice of exteriorization of costs, not even attempting to compute them as factors increasing uncertainty.

The opinions of scientists, thus, can be seen as far too complex for the impatient. We have seen this human characteristic around us since early childhood, and should understand that some kind of exposure without immediate violent prescriptive response should be a part of early education, formal or informal.

Simplistic, magical answers serve to deny reflective thought; religious misattribution early in life, imposed rather than even analogue with other biological life, might be a significant instructional mistake leading to this adult refusal to tolerate uncertainty or the inevitability of alternative attribution.

We ourselves must try to refrain from oversimplification; it seems that the twitterlike summations we so excoriate in others, are too easily our own recourse.


IMHO, the greatest risk to the world’s population IS the world’s population.   It’s already more than three times the world’s long-term carrying capacity, and is predicted to be more than four times the world’s long-term carrying capacity by 2100 — barring a Trumpian disaster, of course . . .

No and Yes.
Revolution is the start of the solution.

1 Like

Of course, he cheated his way through his education.

He was probably thinking HE would get a Nobel prize for his presidency…

1 Like


I remember when Zero Population Growth was in the news and was urging everyone to limit their offspring. They seem to have died along the way. Since most of the world’s (or at least America’s) population tends to collect toward the oceans, that part of the population may not survive as well as people inland, given global warming, rising seas, and horrific storms.

1 Like

The danger is not so much Trump’s ignorance as the ignorance of those who see it as “common sense” and vote for him because he doesn’t know anything. They like that. They could have a beer with him and feel he was one of them. A good guy. Not an expert, a business man, whose wealth is a sign of his authenticity. And they think that because we live in a world that only values money and entrepreneurship - a system supported not just by the right but by centrists and liberals as well. That’s the danger - we have cast real values adrift and left everything for the market to decide.


Yes, Russia may do quite well when Siberia has become the new Kansas, and Kansas has become the new Mojave Desert . . .

This massive overbloom is the root cause of the unrelieved stress prompting violent response.
It brings in some considerations:

why is internecine violence so common?
A huge proportion of species have evolved toxins or behaviors damaging to those that may compete for resources always limited by habitat or mobility. Our social stress is exactly that. We are not evolved to live in groups beyond a very limited local population. Robin Dunbar and others have noted that villages and groups lose their tolerance and violently fragment at around 150, Dunbar’s Number.
This number very probably occurred because of the incapacity of local habitat to sustain a larger population. We are a fission-fusion herding animal, with individuals and smaller/family groups departing and periodically reengaging. This, too, has adaptive relationship with habitat resource limits, temporally and spatially.

Stress, then, remains a response supporting dispersal and emigration. All young adults disperse, just as no acorn can grow into a tree when attached to its parent’s branch.

The arousal you feel (and I felt this overdensity problem since around age 14, at puberty) is an evolved adaptation. It leads you to seek relief.
Human violence can easily be traced to be another obvious adaptive behavior. We can see that brains as far as fish, contain structures promoting functional arousal. Even bacteria significantly change signaling when group sizes hit certain points; it’s called quorum sensing.

I regard the seemingly irrational votes of many of those for Trump, as due to social arousal and consequent neuronal/hormonal signals of threat. (Got it? I often feel that in conversation, failure to elaborate leaves inaccurate opinions unshaken, but internet comment cannot cover the subject)

But to go on:
What number or spatial distribution of humans would be the mean (since all populations fluctuate, we have to consider the mean, rather than the maximum!) to avoid exceeding?
This must vary, as habitat and resource availability vary to the extreme. We cannot come to a total because of seasonal and climatic variation.
Worse, how much exclusion we immpose on certain other species is highly variable.
Dams and water transport extinguish entire living systems, but have allowed humans to occupy large desert areas. Electrical power, arrived at through its various sources also eradicates life outside of the habitats where humans use it for cooling to survive the desert.
Other forms of heat and power generation do the same,
all unless the population remains at a tiny fraction of what it is at present.
The assertion that we only use 1 1/2 times the primary production of the earth per year each year, can be immediately intuited not to be useful as basis, as can the idea that the present population is only three ties the world’s carrying capacity.
Uncertainty, again, influences modeled mean populations, as models tend to be based on acceptable deviation from the mean, for genetic reasons. Mean populations lasting 40 generations without demographic stochasticities, catastrophic event probabilities, and so on.

I am getting caught up in the variables, but it should be said that whenever we significantly diminish another organism’s population, we change the future in unknown ways.
You might have explored recent public discussions about 2- and 5-sigma. This would help understand the uncertainty of prescriptive speculation.

We have now found that we cannot escape the complex feedbacks of biological and physical (abiotic) manipulation of the earth’s climate as a whole. The fluctuations occurring as a result of evolution - of trees and angiosperms, were instructive, as were the volcanism and tectonic disconnection and reconnections of crustal plates.

All organisms must reproduce in larger quantities than mortality effects, or they would not exist beyond a couple generations. While I do not see humans as to be preferred over other organisms (probably due to the persistent excess), most do. When we remove the confabulation inherent in the human symbolic social brain’s language, it’s possible that those more real evolutionary pressures are functioning to restore us to numbers more amenable to stably oscillating ecosystems.
We live, after all, among only a relatively few generations of population growth, even though the historical curves show an exponential rise. Expect any peak not to persist, as the earth’s systems have exhibited anthropogenic simplification for some centuries now, and simple ecosystems are not resilient - they have increased tendency to collapse.
So, look pretty far back along the curve to find a more likely mean around which it might sustainably fluctuate. Even the Medieval period when it rose and fell due to plague, was a period of overgrowth and destruction of forests for metal fabrication, dwelling, shipping. So, one billion of the early 1800s is far too high, even though the population was dispersed to the limits it is at present.
10,000 years ago it was perhaps 5 million, a more realistic figure.
This comment must end without consideration of the crowd diseases, always emergent whenever a population exceeds a density. SARS, MERS CoV, Ebola, Marburg, and others, show the problem.
Vibrio cholerae is passed by humans into their available water impoundments; it is an interesting indicator.
China, perhaps the world’s oldest persistent agricultural society, has developed some genetic resistance, but as you saw, SARS would have took that society down without external criticism.
Microorganisms outevolve vertebrates, and every extinction event involves a cascade of sources of mortality.
We are 3 orders of magnitude over our likely mean population.

I agree. The democratic party has claimed to be the party of the people, but really have been and are the party that has always supported war profiteers and the 1% people of Wall Street. Maybe one good thing about the DNC convention in Philly, is the Democratic party was exposed for what it always has been: THE FAKE OPPOSITION PARTY!


why is internecine violence so common?

We are classified as a violent species. I believe it’s genetic, and most of us try to keep a lid on it.

I personally believe that 45 would best be strapped into a straight jacket and put away for fear that he may harm himself or others.

The sooner, the better.


I am sure his father’s money had nothing to do with his being accepted by Wharton.


A major endowment was given by DJT’s father and the quid pro quo was the son’s admission and his guaranteed graduation. And the son-in-law, JK was accorded the same perquisites when his criminal father donated $2.5 mil to Harvard (https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/nov/18/jared-kushner-harvard-donald-trump-son-in-law)

Corrupution is not confined to the corporate world and moneyed elite, it is also endemic in the world of academia where the Koch Foundation and their Americans for Prosperity bulldozer are rapidly invading universities with dictates about what they will give money (grant/research) for literally naming the topics they want researched along with preferred outcomes. And the University of Utah (bastion of Mormonism) is one of the first to grovel and get such funding. So much for the far right BS about “liberal academia…”

It’s all about the money. Integrity, self-respect, morality be damned.