human population
Earth Science Earth’s Population

Earth’s Population

How could the earth become so populated over the entire earth in just 6,000 years?

The statistics of human populations give further support to this intimation. Ever since the famous studies of Malthus, it has been known that human populations (applied to animal populations by the first Charles Darwin, in developing his theory of evolution by natural selection) have tended to increase geometrically with time. That is, the world population tends repeatedly to double itself at equal increments of time. In a recent and alarming study presented at the Lac Beauport Conference, a modern Darwin calls attention to the very real danger of overpopulation in the present world in our time. He says:

The central doctrine which has influenced me is that of Malthus, who 160 years ago gave his theory that there was a natural tendency for man, like any other animal, to increase by geometrical progression.

This means that, if the time for the population to double itself is called T, then starting from an initial population of two people, after T years there would be four people, after twice T years there would be eight people, after 3T years sixteen people, and so on. At any time n(T) after the start of this process, the total population of the world would be two multiplied by itself n times or two raised to the nth power, (2)n. The total time required to attain this population is n(T), but this can be determined only if the time increment T and the exponent n are known. The latter is easily found by equating 2n to the present world population, which is about 2½ billion people. This calculation gives a value of n of slightly over 31. Since the value n = 1 corresponds to the initial human pair, it is obvious that the starting population of one man and one woman has gone through slightly more than thirty “doublings.” The value of T, the time increment for one doubling, is less certain. But the following data will suggest the most reasonable basis for estimating it: At the time of the birth of Christ, there presumably were from 250 to 350 million persons on this planet. Some 700 years later, there was about the same number—say 300 million—a long slow decline in total population having been followed by a compensating increase.

It took roughly 950 more years, namely, until 1650, for this 300 million to double to 600 million. But then it took only 200 years, from 1650 to 1850, for the next doubling up to 1200 million, or 1.2 billion. From 1850 to 1950, in only 100 years, the earth’s population doubled again, to about 2.4 billion.

Obviously the figures given for world populations prior to the modern period are only guesses, since no one has any real knowledge of the populations of America, Africa, Asia, etc., during those centuries. The 1650 figure is the first one with any degree of validity. From 1650 to 1950, therefore, the population increased from 600 million to 2400 million, representing two doublings in 300 years, or a value for T of 150 years. This figure is undoubtedly too low, however, being influenced by the very rapid population growth of the past century. The latter is even more spectacular at present, increasing at a rate which would permit the next doubling to occur in 65 years. However, this is not typical and is attributable almost entirely to advances in medicine and sanitation.

It is fallacious to think that booming birth rates are responsible for this speed-up. Actually, birth rates have declined in many countries. Falling death rates account for most of the spectacular growth.

All things considered, it would seem that the period from 1650 to 1850 is one that would be about as typical as any for one doubling, although accuracy of the figures then was not what it has been in more recent years. One could split the difference between the previous 150-year figure and this 200-year figure and estimate that the most likely value of T is about 175 years. This value, multiplied by the 30 doublings, leads us back to about 3300 B.C. as the time of the birth of Noah’s first son!

It could not be maintained, of course, that this calculation is completely rigorous, but it certainly is reasonable—far more so than to say that the population has been doubling itself since a hypothetical beginning several hundred thousand years ago. Added to all the other evidence for the beginning of the present order of things on the earth after the Deluge several thousand years ago, this further testimony is quite impressive.

The Genesis Flood
The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications
By John C. Whitcomb and Henry M. Morris
P & R Publishing Phillipsburg, New Jersey