James Watson
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
P.O. Box 100
Cold Springs Harbor, NY 11724-0180
Dear Dr. Watson:
You have been ill done by.  I think we can turn that around.  How does saving the human species from extinction sound?  You can do it without the least offense to what I take to be your tormentors. 

I recently gave a lecture to the Triple Nine Society (Any adult with an IQ in the top 99.9th percentile may join.  If I could recruit you I’d consider myself to be a hero.).  Here’s a link to the lecture.
Or you can go to and click on the October 13, 2016 post.

I have learned by rumor that you observed that the “demographic transition” – whereby a population that increases its wealth and education, particularly for women, experience a fall in fertility putatively because people no longer need children to support them in old age or doing farm work and also they make more rational reproductive choices – did not seem to work for Africa.  Raising their incomes did not lower total fertility.  So you made one of two possible choices: either there was something different about Africa OR the cause of the transition was not in fact choice.  Of course either of those is forbidden territory.  You made what seemed like a reasonable inference and made a lot of enemies.  Well that lecture has data solidly establishing that it is the second possibility.  One shudders to think how many enemies that one would have made you or, sadly, may make for you.  Yet it is true.  In the lecture I have a graph of how the total human population changes over time.  Africa is just a rather flat part of the curve. 

So if you care to, do straighten out my impression.  It looks like Wikipedia tells a different story, but no matter unless it matters to you.  We are talking hard science here,

The sad truth appears to be that civilizations experience a fertility crash before they reach age 300.  There are a few exceptions, but they are rare.  And it all comes down to molecular biology.  This is your strength and you are easily the most famous molecular biologist ever.  I have a computer model, but I do not have the magic combination of the strengths of factors.  A population can follow a number of patterns: stable, which is seen in the wild and by computer model and could be easily arranged in the lab; damped oscillation seen in the wild, the lab and by computer analysis; a double peak followed by extinction seen in humans, in the lab inconstantly by computer program, and in the wild; a single peak leading to extinction seen in the wild and by computer model.  But I can’t get one set of numbers to give me everything.  I just don’t have the brains.  I hope to spend the rest of the year working on it. 

So have a look at the lecture.  I’m sure if you want to you can get the word out.  If you think you can help me, do let me know.


M. Linton Herbert
p.s. If this sounds familiar, I did write you a few years ago, but that was before I realized how big an issue molecular biology is.  Your reply got lost in the mailJ.  Let’s hope that doesn’t happen again.   

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