Ebola Conspiracy Theories vs. Mother Nature vs. Overpopulation

Conspiracy theories are starting to take hold in the wake of the Ebola crisis, and bloggers have taken to the airways with theories. The latest conspiracy theory is that a faction of people are intent on fueling the spread of the Ebola virus, and not for reasons of hate.

Congressman Paul Broun pointed such a finger of accusation with his statement, “I just cannot fathom why anybody would be doing what this administration has been doing, whether it’s purposeful…” He couldn’t come up with a single, logical reason why anyone would seemingly fuel the spread of Ebola, and he isn’t the only one to wonder about the decisions being made, according to several articles.

Perhaps the conspiracy theorists aren’t thinking big enough in their quest for a reason. How about population control?

Less than one year ago, in January 2014, one month after the Ebola virus infected Patient Zero, stories came out about the stockpiling of disposable FEMA coffins, as if the government was expecting half a million people to die.

Of course, this story quickly erupted with everybody pointing fingers at everybody, one side hollering, “Lunatics! Conspiracy theorists! Wackos!” and the other side hollering, “Liar Liar! Tell us the truth!”

We weren’t even talking about Ebola back then as it hadn’t caught hold yet. There’d been a single patient in Guinea, Africa, who died on December 6, 2013. By late March 2014, we’d still only seen 49 cases of Ebola in Guinea, so nobody could ever have suspected that in just a few months, the numbers would reach 10,000 Ebola-infected with an almost 50% death rate, and nobody connected Ebola to the FEMA coffins.

But think about it for a moment, as if you were tasked with solving the problem of overpopulation. First you’d analyze the data, such as how long it takes to add another 1 billion people to the world.

Population Growth Rate
Years Passed Year Billion(s)
1800 1
127 1927 2
33 1960 3
14 1974 4
13 1987 5
12 1999 6
12 2011 7
Population Growth Projections per United Nations Population Fund
14 2025 8
18 2043 9
40 2083 10

You’d think, hmm, the good news is that maybe we’ve slowed down the growth rate. The bad news is that we’re still growing at an exponential rate, adding almost the entire population of China to the world every 13 years for the past 40 years. This is a rough estimate based on China’s 2014 population of 1.3 billion, but you get the idea.

Then you’d analyze the impact on everything from pollution, to species extinction such as the critically endangered tigers and other animals soon to follow, to resource availability. How long can Earth sustain this population growth with food and water, fuel, and other resources?

You might consult one of the population think tanks, such as the RAND Corporation or the Earth Policy Institute, who’d provide you with detailed analyses and projections. This is referred to as “carrying capacity” and some researchers believe that we are already living beyond the capacity that planet Earth can sustain.

Then you’d look at the options, such as instituting a human population control system such as they have in China, with their one-child policy.

You’d immediately discard it, because you know that you’d never be able to implement it. Nothing short of a dictatorship could force such a policy on the people, especially when you add religions that specifically forbid it.

So what do you do? Well, you could fuel a few wars to kill some folks off, but that’s really only a stop-gap measure to give you time to consider the options. You realize that no population control option can be forced on humans, period. Even a world dictator probably couldn’t achieve it.

Then a little birdie whispers in your ear, “What if we set a deadly disease loose in the world?” At first you scoff, thinking no sane person would ever, but then more data gets piled on your desk, screaming for a solution before we reach a tipping point beyond which all solutions would fail.

You start analyzing the data on the world’s deadliest plagues. The Antonine Plague took out 30% of the population of Europe, and portions of Asia and Africa. The Bubonic Plague of Justinian, 400 years later, took out 40% of Europe.

Then came the Bubonic Black Death of the 1300s. The Bubonic Plague wiped out between 30% and 70% of the world’s population, though it was mostly in Europe. None of the biggies wiped out everybody, not even the dreaded 1918 flu pandemic, which killed 75 million people around the world.

It was estimated that the world had 1,650 million people in 1900, so it only took out about 5% of the world population. Even with a major pandemic, we grew from 1,650 to 2,519 million humans on Earth between 1900 and 1950.

Today we have roughly 7 billion people in the world, which is equal to 7,000 million people. Most flu epidemics only kill off 1 or 2 million people. AIDS managed to eliminate 30 million. It doesn’t make much of a dent to subtract 1 or 2 or even 30 million from 7,000 million.

You balance out the options: Do you protect every human on Earth until Earth can no longer sustain us? Or do you protect Earth itself, and keep the human population going for another thousand years?

Nobody could point a finger of accusation at you in a pandemic, for taking away their freedoms and liberties to procreate. Diseases do not discriminate. You wouldn’t have to buck the religious beliefs of the church. You wouldn’t have to continually battle the media, at least not on that front.

All you’d have to do is figure out a way to set a biological pathogen loose somewhere in the world. Anyplace would work, though you’d get the best results from a place least ready to stamp it out. Then it could get a foothold and spread from there.

You don’t have to point a finger at a specific person, or group of people, to ignite a world pandemic, however. You don’t have to wonder if someone wanted to deliberately infect the world with Ebola, as some conspiracy theorists suggest. Mother Earth manages to find a way to create Patient Zero without human intervention.

This detailed article that focuses on Ebola Patient Zero and how it spread from a single case, perfectly demonstrates that sometimes Ebola really does just ignite on its own, as it has periodically throughout the millennia. After all, various plagues have sprouted every few hundred years since the beginning of recorded history. Mother Earth herself has a way of shrugging us off every now and again, as she did in 429 B.C., and 165 A.D., and 541, and 1346, and again in 1616, and 1852, showing a pattern of every few hundred years with no conspiracy theory involved. It just goes to show that You Can’t Fool With Mother Nature.

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