WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW is that in ten or fifteen years — twenty or twenty-five at the most — you will be living in a world extremely different from that of today — one that, if you are unprepared for it, will prove extraordinarily unpleasant.
Paul Ehrlich, The End of Affluence Ballantine Paperback (First printing November 1974), page 34.

The above came from the highly observant Justin Case, who (like the commenter below and like Common Sense and Wonder), saw parallels between Dr. Rosalie Bertell (see yesterday’s post) and Dr. Ehrlich.
There are more failed predictions, of course:

The vast diversity of businesses that manufacture and distribute the goods of our “cowboy” economy will have largely disappeared. Most of the Japanese firms that today shower us with electronic gadgets will have gone defunct as Japan’s situation deteriorates, and the higher costs of necessities will have so reduced demand for television sets, radios, tape decks, and the like that few new firms will have entered the market. Similarly, a wide array of non-essentials, from convenience foods to recreational vehicles, will have largely vanished along with the companies that produced them.
Probably before 1985, a general recognition of the changed economic status of the nation will lead to a stock-market collapse even more severe than the one that preceded the onset of the depression of the 1930s. This time, however, the public will be aware of the depth of our economic difficulties, and confidence in the market as a place to make money may be more or less permanently eroded. It is very likely that before the end of the century the stock market, as we know it, will disappear as a factor in the lives of individuals. (Id, 176.)

Hey man, doncha just love future nostalgia?
Younger readers who were not forced to read Paul Ehrlich as Justin and I were might get a kick out of this 1998 Ehrlich retrospective:

After limiting his family size to one (Ehrlich had a vasectomy shortly after receiving tenure at Stanford — showing once again that tenure does limit production), Ehrlich resolved in 1968 to write an environmental text that would warn the world of the immediate danger it faced. Ehrlich’s logic was simple: a growing population increasingly consumes the earth’s finite resources.This left humanity with three options: 1) stop producing, 2) stop consuming, or 3) die from starvation.
His Population Bomb began, “The battle to feed all of humanity is over … hundreds of millions of people are going to starve to death.” In 1969, Ehrlich added, “By 1985 enough millions will have died to reduce the earth’s population to some acceptable level, like 1.5 billion people.” The same year, he predicted in an article entitled “Eco-Catastrophe!” that by 1980 the United States would see its life expectancy drop to 42 because of pesticides, and by 1999 its population would drop to 22.6 million. In the mid-seventies, with the release of his The End of Affluence, Ehrlich incorporated drama into his dire prophesies. He envisioned the President dissolving Congress “during the food riots of the 1980s,” followed by the United States suffering a nuclear attack for its mass use of insecticides. That’s right, Ehrlich thought that the United States would get nuked in retaliation for killing bugs.

I am not a scientist, and I really lack the time and expertise it takes to get into anything resembling a detailed fisking of either Ehrlich or Bertell.
My post yesterday really doesn’t give the elderly nun the fisking she so richly deserves, because her fantastic claims are so wide-ranging, and involve specialized knowledge which it would take some time to study in depth. (Depleted uranium, plutonium disbursal by SNAP-9A rockets, alleged public health effects of environmental catastrophes, the ability of extremely low frequency (ELF) waves to trigger earthquakes, and the effect of chlorine on animal sexuality — to name a few!)
Not the sort of thing to solve in a single post on a Saturday morning.
Besides, even if I took the time to get into details, some statistician or another would leap in with more detail!
And I hate detail!
That is why I hate practicing law!
What tends to happen when I focus in on details is that I then start worrying about their relevancy to the Big Picture, and I get frustrated. When friends and lovers were dying of AIDS and I had to spend my days writing things like “Points and Authorities in Opposition To Defendant’s Umpteenth Motion To Compel Further Answers to Plaintiff’s Fourth Amended Set of Interrogatories” originally promulgated by Trucking Company A solely to ruin the day and rattle the cage of the lawyers for Trucking Company B, I would start thinking about stuff like “what is the meaning of life?” and I’d get all frustrated (well, more than frustrated; I became seriously depressed and it nearly killed me).
The nit-pickers like to wear you out that way. That’s why the nit-pickers tend to win. Unless you can find something you enjoy, and remain focused on it.
Still, I don’t mean to put down the nit-pickers, overspecialized hyperstatisticians, and the like, because somebody has to do these things. And if I have to focus in on something technical or boring or detailed, I can.
As Drayton Sawyer said,

There’s some things you gotta do. It doesn’t mean you gotta like it!

And one must constantly be wary of allowing details to lead to mistaken thinking. Guys like Ehrlich focused so much on details that I think they became overwhelmed by their enormity, and pessimistic gloom set in.
Is this why millionaires tend to come from the ranks of B and C students? Detail guys like Ehrlich got the As, shot to the heads of their classes and their various departments, and became the central planners standing in the way of the C students who just wanted to make lots of money while (according to the A students) ruining the planet.
Jimmy Carter, a brilliant A student from the Ehrlich, central-planning school, believed he could micromanage everything — including the schedule of the White House tennis courts. Reagan, a classic B and C guy, relaxed and watched the Sound of Music, while, much to the dismay of the A student central planners, the Soviet Union gave up the Cold War and the economy grew.
What if Ehrlich had gotten his way?
Suppose the limits he advocated had been imposed?
(I’d rather not think about the details….)
UPDATE: Almost forgot about a great Catch-22 of paying attention to detail. The more attention you pay to detail, the more fault others are likely to find when they search for the smallest detail you might have missed. The more you try, therefore, the more the demands. (A Sisyphean challenge inconsistent with clinical depression — or even wanting to be left alone.)
In the practice of law, I saw that some very successful attorneys would exploit their hatred of detail by simply drafting and filing pleadings containing all the garbage they could think of, then sitting back and waiting for the opposition to file demurrers and other motions to clean it up! (A technique which, regrettably, can work!)
UPDATE: Thanks to Justin for correcting my transcription errors.
Details! Details!
Ehrlich was RIGHT about one thing: reduced demand for tape decks.