Myths and Misconceptions
Misconceptions about lemmings go back many centuries. In the 1530s, the geographer Zeigler of Strasbourg proposed the theory that the creatures fell out of the sky during stormy weather, and then died suddenly when the grass grew in spring. This was argued against, successfully, by the natural historian Ole Worm, who provided one of the first published dissections of a lemming. In his investigation, Worm showed that a lemming contained anatomy similar to most other rodents.
While many people believe that lemmings commit mass suicide when they migrate, this is not actually the case. Lemmings will often migrate in large groups and as a result some lemmings will occasionally be pushed off cliffs or drowned in bodies of water simply by the press of their compatriots, or by the dimension of the body of water. And The myth of lemming mass suicide is long-standing and has been popularized by a number of factors. It is usually stated that the main source of the belief in the suicide myth was propagated by The Walt Disney Company documentary White Wilderness which includes footage of lemmings running head-long over a ledge. The filmmakers contrived this scene by forcing a number of lemmings off a cliff.
Due to their association with this odd behavior, lemming suicide is a frequently-used metaphor in reference to people who go along unquestioningly with popular opinion, with potentially dangerous or fatal consequences. This is the theme of the video game Lemmings, where the player attempts to save the mindlessly marching rodents from walking to their deaths.
Watson’s May 4 editorial asked the question The Beginning of the End for Life as We Know it on Planet Earth? Then he left no doubt about the answer. We are killing our host the planet Earth, he claimed and called for a population drop to less than 1 billion.
Watson’s eco-extremist stance mirrors that of other Malthusian scientists such as Dr. Eric R. Pianka who gave a speech to the Texas Academy of Science who last year gave a speech in which he advocated the need to exterminate 90% of the population through the airborne ebola virus.
Standing in front of a slide of human skulls, Pianka gleefully advocated airborne ebola as his preferred method of exterminating the necessary 90% of humans, choosing it over AIDS because of its faster kill period. Ebola victims suffer the most tortuous deaths imaginable as the virus kills by liquefying the internal organs. The body literally dissolves as the victim writhes in pain bleeding from every orifice.