feeding my own misguided insanity

The Human Race is a Cancerous Disease

August 27, 2011 Shem Radzikowski 8 Comments

The idea that the human race as a whole can be looked upon as a cancerous disease is nothing new. In fact, the idea was originally coined by Dr. Alan Gregg, an official working for the Rockefeller Foundation whose job was to recommend funding strategies on improving public health and medical education.

He travelled extensively in the years following World War II, during which he witnessed a global population boom. Observing such staggering population growth, propelled Gregg to deliver a short paper during a symposium on “Population problems”, held in Berkley, California, in 1954; the paper was later published in Science.

In it, he compared the world to a living organism and the explosion in human numbers to a proliferation of cancer cells (Gregg, 1955). He also described how humans are having a cancer-like impact on the world and hinted at an underlying problem with “human self-restraint”.

Gaia Hypothesis

Gaia was the primordial Earth-goddess in ancient Greek religion, the great mother of all: the heavenly gods and Titans were descended from her union with Uranus (the sky), the sea-gods from her union with Pontus (the sea), the Giants from her mating with Tartarus (the hell-pit) and mortal creatures were sprung or born from her earthy flesh.

Accepting the humans-as-cancer concept comes easier if one also accepts the Gaia hypothesis[1] that the planet functions as a single living organism (MacDougall).

Although Gregg was the primary instigator in this line of thinking, it wasn’t until Warren M. Hern wrote a paper titled “Why Are There So Many of Us?: Description and Diagnosis of a Planetary Ecopathological Process”, that more people took notice.

Extensive Invasion and Distant Colonization

In his paper, Hern stated that cancers “spread by two means: extensive invasion and by metastasis, or distant colonization. Human communities, once established, tend to invade and destroy all adjacent ecosystems without limits” (Hern W. M., 1990).

Studies from population biology repeatedly show that species whose populations are increasing rapidly are subject to severe fluctuations in population size and viability.

In the animal world, prey-predator relationships show linked oscillations of population levels. That is, the population of the predator is directly linked to the availability of food.

Humans have thus far circumvented these stresses through “group fission, emigration, and colonization of unexploited new territories”. These have resulted in “the permanent colonization of virtually every part of the terrestrial global ecosystem” and “the development of colossal and rapidly growing human settlements that envelop and engulf the adjacent ecosystems” (Hern W. M., 1990).

Human population has, of course, responded to population pressures with a variety of strategies other than migration, including predation and agricultural intensification. But by and large, these too, exhibit unhealthy practices in the form of feedlots[2] and mass-scale monocropping[3].

The human species is a rapacious, predatory, omniecophagic species engaged in a global pattern of converting all available plant, animal, organic, and inorganic matter into either human biomass or into adaptive adjuncts of human biomass. This is an epiecopathological process that is both immediately and ultimately ecocidal.

In this respect, the human species is an example of a malignant ecotumor, an uncontrolled proliferation of a single species that threatens the existence of other species in their habitats.

— W. M. Hern

Human Population Curve

The human population is doubling every 35 to 40 years and the growth curve for the past few thousand years is “similar to those seen in other populations just before they collapse” — currently estimated to be 6.94 billion as of July 1, 2011.

The population has experienced continuous growth since the end of the Bubonic Plague, Great Famine and Hundred Years Wars in 1350, when it was about 300 million.

The highest rates of growth– increases above 1.8% per year– were seen briefly during the 1950s, for a longer period during the 1960s and 1970s; the growth rate peaked at 2.2% in 1963, and declined to 1.1% by 2009 (there is hope for us yet).

His paper also included aerial photographs of various cities in the US and Europe juxtaposed with photos of brain and lung tumors.

A malignant tumor develops its own blood vessels as it grows. Similarly, cities vascularize with aqueducts, electric power lines, highways, railroads, canals and other conduits. A tumor uses its circulation network to pirate nutrients from the body.

Similarly, cities parasitically tap the countryside and beyond to bring in food, fuel, water, and other supplies. However, just as a tumor eventually outgrows its blood supply, causing a part of it, often at the center, to die, inner city neighborhoods and even older suburbs often atrophy.

Alan Gregg (1955) noted this parallel 40 years ago, observing “how nearly the slums of our great cities resemble the necrosis of tumors.”

— A Kent MacDougall

The Growth of London

These mega-cities are a stark contrast to the semi-nomadic bands of humans from days gone by, who lived in harmony with the environment and limited their numbers so as not to exceed the food supply. The number of offspring was also limited to that which could easily be carried between seasonal camps.

Contraception was also widely practiced and included: coitus interruptus[4] (withdrawal), pessaries[5], and prolonged breastfeeding to depress the hormones that trigger ovulation. Failing these precautions, they resorted to abortion and infanticide.

Societies in the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome preferred small families and are known to have practiced a variety of birth control methods. After the decline of the Roman Empire in the 5th century, contraceptive practices fell out of use in Europe. During the Middle Ages in Christian Europe, population issues were rarely discussed in isolation. Attitudes were generally pro-natalist in line with the Biblical command, “Be ye fruitful and multiply.”

Diagnosis Confirmed, Treatment Required

Aristotle concluded that a large increase in population would bring, “certain poverty on the citizenry, and poverty is the cause of sedition and evil.” To halt rapid population increase, Aristotle advocated the use of abortion and the exposure of newborns.

A recent study by Pimentel and colleagues (2010) suggests that the Earth can support a population of two billion individuals, but only if all individuals are willing to live at a European standard of living and use natural resources sustainably. These researchers state that reducing population from today’s level of over 6.8 billion to the suggested 2 billion would take slightly longer than 100 years if every couple, worldwide, agrees to produce an average of only one child.

What are you doing to help out the world?

  1. Gaia hypothesis, proposes that all organisms and their inorganic surroundings on Earth are closely integrated to form a single and self-regulating complex system, maintaining the conditions for life on the planet. ^
  2. A feedlot or feedyard is a type of animal feeding operation (AFO) which is used in factory farming for finishing livestock, notably beef cattle, but also swine, horses, sheep, turkeys, chickens or ducks, prior to slaughter. Large beef feedlots are called Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs). They may contain thousands of animals in an array of pens. ^
  3. Monocropping is the high-yield agricultural practice of growing a single crop year after year on the same land, in the absence of rotation through other crops. ^
  4. Coitus interruptus, also known as the withdrawal or pull-out method, is a method of birth-control in which a man, during intercourse withdraws his penis from a woman’s vagina prior to ejaculation. ^
  5. A pessary is a small plastic or silicone medical device which is inserted into the vagina. ^


Gregg, A. (1955a). A Medical Aspect of the Population Problem. Science, 121(3150)
Gregg, A. (1955b, May 13). A Medical Aspect of the Population Problem. Science Magazine. Retrieved May 3, 2012, from http://www.sciencemag.org/content/121/3150/681
Hern, W. M. (1990a). Why Are There So Many of Us? Description and Diagnosis of a Planetary Ecopathological Process. University of Colorado. Retrieved May 3, 2012, from http://www.drhern.com/pdfs/whysomany.pdf
Hern, W. M. (1990b). Why Are There So Many of Us? Description and Diagnosis of a Planetary Ecopathological Process. Population and Environmen, 1(12), 9– 39.
MacDougal, K. A. (n.d.). Humans as Cancer. Church of Euthanasia. Retrieved May 3, 2012, from http://www.churchofeuthanasia.org/e-sermons/humcan.html
Pimentel, D., Whitecraft, M., Scott, Z. R., Zhao, L., Satkiewicz, P., Scott, T. J., Phillips, J., et al. (2010). Will Limited Land, Water, and Energy Control Human Population Numbers in the Future? Human Ecology, 38(5)
Wikipedia contributors. (2012a, May 1). Human population control. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Human_population_control&oldid=490145203
Wikipedia contributors. (2012b, May 2). Gaia hypothesis. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Gaia_hypothesis&oldid=490309741
Wikipedia contributors. (2012c, May 3). World population. Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=World_population&oldid=490399661

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8 Comments → “The Human Race is a Cancerous Disease”

  1. Peter S 12 years ago   Reply


  2. Peter S 12 years ago   Reply

    “In the animal world, prey-predator relationships show linked oscillations of population levels. That is, the population of the predator is directly linked to the availability of food.” A lot is hiding in this statement. If you have studied population dynamics you’ll know that sometimes as prey populations drop, predator populations rise. In fact, ecosystems have been found where total predator populations are greater in biomass than prey populations. It is easy to conduct a thought experiment in which one can show this to be possibly, but I find it surprising that it is discovered in the wild.

    • Dr.Shem 12 years ago   Reply

      Peter, I agree with you there – a lot is hiding in the statement. You may want to have a look at some of the research references mentioned in http://www.drhern.com/pdfs/whysomany.pdf. I’m not an expert on population control but it was most informative, even for a layman like myself.

      • Keith S 12 years ago   Reply

        Hello there. A very good article. Well done. Now, I’ve been looking into the world population issue for a few years now. I’m a social (cultural) anthropologist by education, but out of work, mostly because any scientific interest in the population issue is blatantly out-of-line with the political / social establishment here in Norway and the rest of Northern Europe. It’s a moral issue, I guess. And one that gives God a bad name. What a shame. So I have yet to read a single Scandinavian newspaper or science mag article on the topic.

        It is increasingly apparent that the long-term sustainability of civilization will require a colossal reduction in both population and consumption. This is the kind of argument which I can easily understand, but not cope with. Why? Because it will be absolutely impossible to reduce the world’s population unless we should start by teaching all the third world’s (catholic, muslim and hindu) school children about the consequence of three child-births per woman (the simple consequence is: POPULATION EXPLOSION), and this is not something that anyone wants to do, which is understandable. For fear of ones life, and nothing less. There is no reason to believe that third world populations in general will stop growing until they have doubled at least once and possibly twice, which means that even discussing the idea of reducing the world’s population at all is, at best, philosophic. What we need is no longer philosophy but action. Classroom action in front of 12-year-old children with calculators in front of them. Easy. But unachievable. Unfortunately. For religious, cultural, social and other moral reasons.

        Obviously, a demographic change of this magnitude will require a major reorientation of human thought, values, expectations, and lifestyles. That’s absolutely correct. I can only hope that I will live to see the day. But I don’t think I will. Unfortunately.

        Is it naive to hope that, once a critical mass of concerned investigators begins to make a serious case for such a reduction, it would become much easier for scientists, environmentalists, politicians, economists, moralists, and other concerned citizens of the planet to speak forthrightly about humanity’s critical need for population stabilization and shrinkage? Yes. It is naive. Why? Because God created us with the capacity to procreate / reproduce more than fifteen times in a lifetime, that’s why. And people in general, on all corners of this planet, will never (ever) agree to stop giving birth to an average of 3 or more children per woman. Why? Because God is Great. Of course. And none is allowed to say otherwise and expect to get heard and understood at the same time. But okay: I’ll go ahead with it. I’ll say it. God is not great. in fact: God is a moron. (S)he should not have been so foolish as allowing human females to give birth to little babies more than two times in a lifetime. God’s an idiot! A fool!

        • Dr. Shem 8 years ago   Reply

          Not sure I would bring God into this discussion because I’m an agnostic, but everyone is entitled to your opinion.

          I do agree with your earlier points regarding the need for a “major reorientation of human thought, values, expectations, and lifestyles.” China did try something along these lines with the one child policy, but they failed to take into account that many couples, forced to only have one child, would choose to have a male. This has seen the male population grown disproportionate with females to the point where it has damaged the societal fabric. I.e., males unable to find a suitable mate, high suicide rate etc. More needs to be done on that front.

  3. Warren M. Hern 12 years ago   Reply

    Dr. Shem: Thank you for taking my contributions to this subject seriously. Here are citations for several other papers published since 1990 as I continue to explore this matter.

    Hern, W.M. Is human culture carcinogenic for uncontrolled growth and ecological destruction? BioScience 43(11):768-773, 1993.

    Hern, W.M. How many times has the human population doubled? Comparisons with cancer. Population and Environment 21(1):59-80, 1999.

    Urban Malignancy – Similarity in the fractal dimensions of urban morphology and malignant neoplasms. International Journal of Anthropology 23(1-2):1-19, 2008

    A case of malignant maladaptation: Human occupation of global ecosystems. Presented at the symposium: Why Adaptation Becomes Maladaptive: The Dynamics of Population Growth and Resources. 161st Annual Meeting of the American Association for th Advancement of Science, February 21, 1994. San Francisco, California.

    Population 7 Billion. The Daily Camera, November 6, 2011.

    All these papers/publications can be found either on my web site at http://www.drhern.com or online by putting the information into any search engine (especially Google).

    There will be more on this subject in the future.

    Warren M. Hern, M.D., M.P.H., Ph.D.

    • Paul 12 years ago   Reply

      There’s a lot to digest in there. Here are some androm thoughts like yours, they are still evolving, which of course is one of the reasons we write these things.I’ve recently had some correspondance with a soil scientist in New Brunswick. He has convinced me that plummeting soil fertility is the other major cold front to watch as the storms of climate change and peak oil converge on humanity’s cockleshell boat. I get so tired of having every new fact I uncover be another sign that we’re being swept further from shore. My reaction might be simply be evidence of confirmation bias, but I don’t think so. Of course I’d say that even if it were, right?The more I think about it, the more facets I discover in my attraction to the web of tiny local organizations that Hawken has described.

      If I may torture the nautical metaphor a bit further, they seem to be like life jackets something we put on before the storm hits, that may or may not save us, but certainly increase our chances of survival. If we do survive our Perfect Storm, they may keep enough of us afloat that when we wash up on our desert island there will be enough of us left to build some sort of civilization (and hopefully it won’t be a Lord of the Flies variety). I also feel strongly that they must remain independent of each other. That is the surest way to preserve their resilience, in my mind. While joining them together might improve their leverage on larger problems, I worry about it for three reasons.

      One is that large organizations present single points of attack for those who wish to disable them and I have no doubt that there are powerful forces in the world that do not wish to see the values such organizations represent get any toehold in the global consciousness.

      The other is that small organizations can address more problems simply because they aren’t tied to a unifying agenda.

      The third, and possibly most important, is that a large number of small organizations give more people an opportunity to develop ground-level leadership skills than would a smaller number of large organizations. Not only are there more leadership positions available, but the type of leadership they require is less abstract than is usual in a large group. I think that may be very valuable if any of my darker predictions are realized. So on balance I much prefer having a huge diversity of less obviously powerful groups.

      On waking people up that’s one of the keys, and it’s why I do what I do. One standard objection is, If the outcome is as inevitable as you say, why bother waking the sheep? In this case ignorance might very well be bliss. My response is that in light of our need to respond helpfully even to to inevitable events, awareness is crucial. I’m currently reading a fascinating book called Spiritually Incorrect Enlightenment that talks about waking up that accepting reality for what it is is the only way to get in on the grandest adventure in the universe. I know it’s a painful process and many would rather not, but I have yet to meet anyone who made it that would prefer to go back to sleep. Only in full awareness is there any hope of correct action. After all, it was the sleepwalkers that gave us corn ethanol I don’t worry so much any more about the disabling effects of discount functions. The problems are now close enough that many people are responding in one way or another.

      It seems to me the real value now lies in waking people up so that their responses are considered and helpful rather than reflexive and expedient.Fertility control measures are yet another form of life jacket. While they may appear unequal to the task that faces us, it’s yet another wedge of survivability . I am utterly convinced that the effects of mortality increase rather than fertility reduction will be what balances the scale of sustainability. However, as you point out, if we can save a few hundred thousand of the right people or a few more species by reducing the pressure before the dieoff, it’s worth it. Paul

  4. Jim 8 years ago   Reply

    The human specie isn’t simply a “cancer cell” in some metaphorical sense of the word, as in drawing out striking similarities between our specie and that of cancerous cells viewed under a microscope, but instead falling short of ACTUALLY BEING a cancer cell in the specific sense. No, in fact, the human race is “very much” a malignant tumor in the most specific and clinical sense of the word to view anything and everything that is known by modern human science on the subject of cancer. We – and actually ALL OF LIFE on Earth – exist as a tumorous formation on “the body of the Earth,” and we are “consuming the host” (i.e., the Earth is the host body) just like you would expect ANY CANCER to do.

    The consideration is offered here in a nutshell:

    1) Every cell (cancerous or not) has what is called a “MAIN CELL BODY” that governs the overall operation and properties of the cell.

    2) In the case of normal cells becoming malignant, the main cell body does NOT actually change fundamentally, but instead does what is known as — “inheriting the cell.” (NOTE: Scientists don’t understand exactly what is taking place when a main cell body so-called “inherits” its cell structure tumor, but only where they see this phenomenon taking place underneath a microscope, and thus where the phenomenon amounts to some form of “metamorphosis.”)

    3) In the example of the human race as a cancer cell, it was about 2,000 years ago when a human male called Jesus Christ was seen to have been conceived – and born – through a virgin female, in which case the body of the fetus can be said to have “formed spontaneously” inside the womb of the virgin female.

    4) This phenomenon of the human male called Jesus Christ forming spontaneously inside the womb of the “host female” IS WHERE the “main cell body” inherited its tumor in the case of the human specie.

    5) It occurs to me the likelihood that really ANY main cell body of any cell structure would almost certainly possess some supreme physical attributes that would NOT be present within the remainder of the cell structure. Such supreme, or otherwise profound physical attributes would offer to explain the otherwise suggested “super human” capabilities of Jesus Christ during his lifetime in which he held the ability to perform seeming “miracles” that were necessarily outside the realm of normality for human beings either before, during or at any time after his lifetime. In effect, therefore, the proposed “miracles” performed by Jesus Christ would have amounted to nothing more than an attestation of his inherent nature of being the main cell body of the human specie cell structure.

    6) Based upon scientific observation done by “cancer specialists,” it has been seen that the main cell bodies of cancer cells tend to largely portray a semblance of becoming “INSANE” respective of the remainder of the cell structure. In other words, apparently the main cell body of a cancerous cell behaves so overwhelmingly erratically within the cell structure of the tumorous cell that it is strongly presumed – if not “assumed” – that the main cell body has effectively — “gone insane.”

    7) Lastly, it is in the case of Jesus Christ where, based upon his own suggested admissions, he was involved in a form of “mental contact” with not only his so-called “Father in Heaven,” but also where he was involved in this same effective form of mental contact with the “Devil” and also including the “Angels in Heaven.”

    8) People who are afflicted with the suggested neurological mental disorder of “schizophrenia” are known to “hear voices inside of their heads,” and also where they are known to see things, taste things and smell things that nobody else around them can detect through normal sensory awareness.

    9) What I am suggesting here is that regardless of whether it could be said that Jesus Christ was a “stark raving lunatic and maniac,” he was nonetheless suffering delusions in his belief that he was communicating with some so-called Father in Heaven, the Devil, or that of any suggested Angels.

    10) Jesus Christ suffered from the neurological mental disorder of schizophrenia, which is probably what most or even ALL “main cell bodies” suffer from once they end up inheriting their respective cancer cell formations.

    11) A very large majority of humans afflicted with schizophrenia WILL INDEED seek to attach arbitrary ideals and explanations in seeking to make sense of, and draw ultimate conclusions for, those otherwise mysterious and often troublesome voices they are hearing inside of their heads. (NOTE: An estimated 1% of the human population suffers from schizophrenia.) Jesus Christ was NO DIFFERENT in this aspect of his own schizophrenic condition in which he sought to divulge a reasonable explanation for those voices in his head to be such things as the Father in Heaven, the Devil and the Angels.

    12) In fact, Jesus Christ was VERY MUCH ALONE in all of that commotion he was experiencing in the form of multiple strings of voices “talking to him” inside of his head. There is NO GOD of the universe. There is NO DEVIL of the universe. There are NO ANGELS in a place called Heaven.

    The human race – and all of life on Earth – is a malignant, tumorous cancer cell formation in the STRICTEST sense of the word. That is ALL we are. And we are NOT UNIQUE throughout eternity anymore than someone’s “lung cancer” is unique.

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