In the sixteenth century Dr Lightfoot and Bishop Ussher both calculated, from Biblical sources, that that universe was created in 4004BC. Suppose that were true. We know it’s not, but please indulge me. Suppose that in the year dot the population of the world was 2 (Adam and Eve) and it grew steadily at 1.1% per year, which is the present rate of growth. There would now be 7.8 ´1028 people. That’s 78 followed by 27 zeroes.
In fact there are only 7.2 billion people. That’s 72 followed by 8 zeroes. The actual average rate of population growth, assuming that it all started with Adam and Eve in 4004BC, has been a very modest 0.37%pa.
I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty astounding.
PS I’ve just realised that I haven’t been stroppy for a while. I get very stroppy when people talk or write about growth rates without specifying the periodicity. Usually it’s annual, but why not say so? Is it so hard to add ‘pa’ after the percentage sign, so there’s no doubt about it? Am I being pedantic? I think not. Just stroppy.