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An Open Letter to President Obama Regarding the Appointment of Science Advisor John Holdren

Dear President Obama,

I note with dismay your appointment of Dr. John Holdren as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, and Co-Chair of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Although Dr. Holdren's experience in academia and administration may be adequate, his publicly expressed views regarding population control disqualify him from holding office.

I will set aside objections to Dr. Holdren's scientific competence. Despite his strong scientific credentials, he advanced theories in the 1970's and 1980's that have become the paradigm of ideologically motivated junk science. He and his collaborators (such as co-author Paul Ehrlich) predicted world-wide famine as a consequence of over-population by the late 20th century, and they advocated radical coercive public policies to avert catastrophe. These predictions were explicit, public, and were published under professional imprimatur. Obviously, the predictions were wrong. Dr.Holdren's predictions are an exemplar of scientific incompetence.

But it is the spectre of Dr. Holdren's competence, not his incompetence, that concerns me. In 1977 Dr. Holdren and his colleagues Paul and Anne Ehrlich published the book Ecoscience. In it, Holdren and his co-authors endorse the serious consideration of radical measures to reduce the human population, particularly third world populations, such as India, China and Africa. The measures include:

• People who "contribute to social deterioration" (i.e. undesirables) "can be required by law to exercise reproductive responsibility" -- in other words, be compelled to have abortions or be sterilized.

• Women -- particularly women of insufficient means due to poverty, nationality, marital status, or youth -- could be forced to abort their children and undergo sterilization.

• Implementation of a system of "involuntary birth control," in which girls at puberty would be implanted with an infertility device and only could have it removed temporarily if they received permission from the government to have a baby.

• Undesirable populations could be sterilized by infertility drugs intentionally put into drinking water or in food.

• Single mothers and teen mothers who managed to have their children despite measures to prevent fertility should have their babies seized from them and given away to others to raise.

• A transnational "Planetary Regime" and a transnational police force should be assembled to enforce population control.

Although Dr. Holdren recently has asserted that he does not support coercive measures to reduce population, he has continued to champion population control 'science' and he includes his book "Ecoscience" prominently on his CV, without disclaimer.

In other words, Dr. Holdren dissembles. He insists, despite the record, that he no longer believes what he 'didn't believe' then. Evidently you accept his denial. As you are, Mr. President, a man of good will, inclined to see the best in people, you may have misunderstood Dr. Holdren's ideology. It has a history that runs from early 20th century eugenics to the German T4 program to the modern population control movement and eco-fundamentalism. It is a view of man as pestilence. No one who holds that view, or has held that view, or who has publicly endorsed serious consideration of that view, should be in a position of influence in our government.

There is a deep and disturbing irony in your appointment of Dr. Holdren as Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. The irony, sir, is this: Dr. Holdren endorsed the serious consideration of radical measures -- including involuntary sterilization and abortion -- to cull mankind. And he was not an equal-opportunity culler. He betrayed a particular animus to children conceived of third world parentage to young mothers of limited means. He asserted that they were a burden that we dare not bear -- for the sake of humanity and for the sake of the Earth. He implored us to ensure that these children were never given life.

He meant you.


Michael Egnor, M.D.