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You got to read that like Private Fraser from Dad’s Army to get the full effect.

As the scientist who helped eradicate smallpox he certainly knows a thing or two about extinction.

And now Professor Frank Fenner, emeritus professor of microbiology at the Australian National University, has predicted that the human race will be extinct within the next 100 years.

He has claimed that the human race will be unable to survive a population explosion and ‘unbridled consumption.’

Am I the only one who thinks a population explosion – which doesn’t look like it’s gonna happen anyway – is a paradoxical cause for an extinction?

Fenner told The Australian newspaper that ‘homo sapiens will become extinct, perhaps within 100 years.’ ‘A lot of other animals will, too,’ he added.

Wild speculation from the good Prof – he’s making it up.

‘It’s an irreversible situation. I think it’s too late. I try not to express that because people are trying to do something, but they keep putting it off.’

Since humans entered an unofficial scientific period known as the Anthropocene – the time since industrialisation – we have had an effect on the planet that rivals any ice age or comet impact, he said.

An “unofficial period” – how very dare us! I grew up about three miles from George Stephenson’s house. How many trees does Al Gore have to plant if I torch it? And the comet impact stuff. Fucking hell. Does this wank-shaft know a god damn thing about astrophysics and quite how big such events are? And ice-ages. Jebus Chriscringle on a hybrid Segway! Yes, they are a big deal in a way that driving a 4×4 isn’t. England was once glaciated to the Thames – get a fucking grip Fenner.

Fenner, 95, has won awards for his work in helping eradicate the variola virus that causes smallpox and has written or co-written 22 books.

He announced the eradication of the disease to the World Health Assembly in 1980 and it is still regarded as one of the World Health Organisation’s greatest achievements.

It is sad when a once great scientist flips his or her lid. I studied (A-level biology) the eradication of smallpox and it is something we should all be proud of. Indeed it lit a light that should never go out (please forget I reffed a Smith’s song there – Manc miserablists that they truly were) but let us remember Prof Fenner for that and not the demented ravings of his senilia.

Last year official UN figures estimated that the world’s population is currently 6.8 billion. It is predicted to exceed seven billion by the end of 2011.

Fenner blames the onset of climate change for the human race’s imminent demise.
He said: ‘We’ll undergo the same fate as the people on Easter Island.

OK, as I said before if the population is rising then it kinda looks to me (poor unschooled physical scientist what I is) that that would imply that our species is actually doing quite well. Indeed even before I drew my first breath we had hit heights of population that would have made Malthus himself have to lie down in a darkened room with a restorative glass of brandy. And coming from an Aussie… 20 million people rattling around in a space almost the size of the USA! Try being British Fenner. There’s 60+ million of us and we get by ticketty boo. Or Japanese or Dutch. Last I heard those folks were doing OK as well.

And Easter Island… I will not dignify that with a response. Actually I shall. As far as anyone can tell the Easter Islanders pretty much spontaneously separated into two factions and waged bloody war until no bugger was left for reasons no one really knows. It was not because of resource depletion. It was simply because we are frequently (but not generally) our own worst enemy.

‘Climate change is just at the very beginning. But we’re seeing remarkable changes in the weather already.’

‘The Aborigines showed that without science and the production of carbon dioxide and global warming, they could survive for 40,000 or 50,000 years.

That is the money quote. Let’s live like the fucking Flintstones. I baggsy Betty. For a scientist to say, “without science” as though it was a good thing makes me want to vomit sulphuric acid in a skirling rage that has not been seen since Loki got caught cheating at gin-rummy against Thor. When a fucking scientist says such things we are surely entering the endarkenment and I hope I am not the only one who will rage against the dying of the light.

And the Aborigines have lasted that long but then so have my ancestors. You know the guys who trekked out of Tanzania and into Europe. The guys that invented indoor plumbing, the bikini and and the Playstation. We have all been around for quite some time and we have done marvellous things which is why, to make it as basic as possible, we no longer have to shit in a bucket and throw it out the window. Even the window was an innovation as indeed was the bucket.

‘But the world can’t. The human species is likely to go the same way as many of the species that we’ve seen disappear.’

Because of global warming? For fuck’s sake. Like T rex (with their funny little arms) were building aluminium smelters? Like the Brachiosaur was driving BMW X5s? What utterly theatrical gayness!

Retired professor Stephen Boyden, a colleague of Professor Fenner, said that while there was deep pessimism among some ecologists, others had a more optimistic view.

Oddly enough I did 2.5 weeks of a biology degree and it was ecology that was the point at which I realised I was a physicist. It was profound wank. I had enjoyed it enormously at A-Level because it was puzzling stuff and remarkably abstract about energy flows in the ecosystem and what really boiled my pissulence was some bearded twat rattling on like a bargain basement Bill Oddie (and he’s a cunt anyway) about how wonderful rainforests are and doing it in a mix of SI and Imperial like it didn’t matter. What a supremely well-chiselled twatter. What a profound soloist upon Bill Shatner’s rusty vuvuzela! If it is science it’s SI and you can take your 100ft tropical hardwoods and sit on top of them wearing a lead hat.

‘Frank may well be right, but some of us still harbour the hope that there will come about an awareness of the situation and, as a result the revolutionary changes necessary to achieve ecological sustainability.’

That would be totalitarianism then. Fuckin’ A! I wish I was making this up. I am not. I know a Green who, with no trace of irony, once suggested to my wife that democracy and individual freedom might have to be stetted to save the planet. No trace of irony. Perhaps I over egg (carbon criminal that I am for eating eggs!) the pudding here because she was a German teacher (and we know what those fuckers are like – they bombed me granny’s fish shop and all). The Germans are not to blame mind. They have more windmills than Trumpton so they have to buy Watts from the French who have a large number of nuclear sets otherwise the lights would go out in Hamburg (kinda like they did after Operation Gomorrah – did I say that? I did – oh, bollocks! Well they shouldn’t have invaded Poland should they?)

Simon Ross, the vice-chairman of the Optimum Population Trust, said: ‘Mankind is facing real challenges including climate change, loss of bio-diversity and unprecedented growth in population.’

People are bad. Well, they are if you don’t like people. I do, alas, like people. We really are asking here, “What is the point of a baby?” I’ll tell you. A baby is an inconvenience – that is true. But I was a baby once and so were you. The thing about babies is that they become farmers and scientists, engineers and playwrights, artists and actors and any number of other things. Some even become annoying retired Australian professors. That’s the thing with babies – you never quite know do you?

Professor Fenner’s chilling prediction echoes recent comments by Prince Charles who last week warned of ‘monumental problems’ if the world’s population continues to grow at such a rapid pace.

Prince Chuckles. I dunno where to start. I have a dependent. He’s called Timmy. He’s a cat. Chuckles is seriously lecturing us on population growth (which in any case is slowing and will slow further as the potless get more potted – and have a window to throw it out of) despite having two more children than I do and he quite frankly only exists to secure the succession to the throne – the git. That is his only role on this planet other than to put his hand into his double-breasted jacket and play a solo game of pocket billiards (which I would do if I was married to Camilla too). And quite why the flying ker-buggery does anyone of sound mind take the demented ravings of Chuckles seriously at all? He is a complete arsehole of the first rusty water. A veritable twatmeister on the cuntoon.

And it comes after Professor Nicholas Boyle of Cambridge University said that a ‘Doomsday’ moment will take place in 2014 – and will determine whether the 21st century is full of violence and poverty or will be peaceful and prosperous.

in the last 500 years there has been a cataclysmic ‘Great Event’ of international significance at the start of each century, he claimed.

“He claimed”. Right… What an epic load of bollocks. Some of us, you know Boyle, just keep buggering on. “He claimed”. Oh fuck me backwards with a Honduran hittin’ stick. What epic gayness is that!

In 2006 another esteemed academic, Professor James Lovelock, warned that the world’s population may sink as low as 500 million over the next century due to global warming.
He claimed that any attempts to tackle climate change will not be able to solve the problem, merely buy us time.

I am merely amazed that the Daily Fail didn’t connect all this doom to the effect on the housing market. Maybe the Express did better and connected it to Princess Diana.


  1. RAB says:

    The Aborigine bit is indeed the money quote, isn’t it?

    It’s like the time I went to a rather posh party and some git was getting up my nose banging on about how old his family was. “We came over with the Conqueror you know!”

    So I finally said, “Look pal, my family is as old as yours is, or I wouldn’t be standing here talking to you now, would I? We just mislaid the friggin paperwork is all!”

    Here is my imaginary first encounter between Captain Cook and the noble savages…

    “So let’s get this straight Wiggy. You say that you have travelled half way round the world in that thing that you made out of trees, powered by those big white miracle wings that you made out of stuff you grew deliberately and wove together, that you have houses and clothes and transport that doesn’t involve walking, and food in abundance that you dont have to poke out of a hole in the ground with a stick every day? And those thundersticks that kill Kangaroos every time and you dont have to throw bent sticks at them?
    And you say we could have done all that if we had bothered to develop a numerical system a bit more sophisticated than One, Two, and then lots?
    Piss! Shit and Balls!!!
    Well there’s nothing for it but to go into an epic sulk for a few hundred years and make all you smartarses feel guilty for making us look stupid.

    It is incredibly sad that a once great scientist, a true benefactor of mankind, in his dotage basically says “I was wrong. This science and advancement stuff is a dead end, it’s killing the Planet. We have to get back to the caves and die aged 30″

  2. Roue le Jour says:

    There’s a word for what Prof. Fenner is experiencing, and that word is philosopause. Sad, really.

    Didn’t the Easter Islanders cut down all the trees and then realise they had nothing to make boats out of? Or to burn to cook the fish they couldn’t catch because they had no bloody boats? What’s the current theory, then?

    The world ends in 2012, I know it’s true, I saw it in a movie. It would be a sweet mercy if it was during the Olympics opening ceremony.

  3. JuliaM says:

    “…the eradication of smallpox and it is something we should all be proud of.”

    Except we didn’t. We only eradicated it in the wild.

  4. Stonyground says:

    Is it some kind of guilt thing this doom-mongering? I would say that as a twenty-first century man life is pretty rosy. I have everything that I need and a few things that I don’t need. I don’t live an extravagant lifestyle, unlike bloody hypocrite Prince Charles. So presumably I should feel pretty guilty about my happy state and be warned that it cannot possibly last forever or that I am pawning my children’s future or some such bloody nonsense.

    It should be noted that these dire predictions have now been going on for decades, many of them were made far enough in the past to have now been disproved. I was contemplating Mann’s infamous Hockey Stick graph last week as I was working in my garden wearing a quilted lumberjack shirt and a wooly hat, in June.

    I believe that the WHO had a serious go at eradicating polio and were thwarted by idiot Muslim clerics telling people not to have their children vaccinated because it was all an evil Western plot to make them sterile or some similar nonsense.

    Is eating eggs bad for my carbon footprint then? We have three chickens, they subsist mainly on crap that insists on growing in the garden despite all attempts to stop it and the “food miles” of our eggs can be measured in yards. I don’t get it.

  5. g1lgam3sh says:

    Epically vituperative, I really enjoyed that.

  6. David B. Wildgoose says:

    This is the best article on Smallpox I have ever read: The Demon in the Freezer.

    It’s stuck in my mind for years.

  7. David Gillies says:

    A teaspoon of bleach in a gallon of water will neutralise every microbe in it (including viruses) while leaving it drinkable by humans. They say the AIDS virus dies after five minutes on a toilet seat. If I’ve been hitting the broccoli and cheese soufflé the night before then five minutes isn’t going to do the job. Ergo: we’re tougher than viruses.

    Paul Ehrlich (he of the mass famine in the US during the 1980′s and other such egregious bullshit) is an entomologist (his field is butterflies). This guy’s a virologist. We have this awful tendency to think that eminence in a given scientific field is transferrable. Note to Ehrlich and Penner: humans are smarter than butterflies and smallpox.

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