Gregory S. Paul’s op-ed “How Giant Birds Help Disprove the Existence of a Good God” (FI, June/July 2018) was a great counter to would-be intellectual William Lane Craig’s comments about predation in the wild. However, I would add to Mr. Paul’s arsenal.
Craig wrongly thinks that predation is the only way to keep populations in check. However, overcrowding in rats where there is an abundant food supply (recall Craig’s caribous were overgrazing) creates conditions of, inter alia, profuse homosexuality (so much for homosexuality not being “natural”), cannibalism, infanticide, disease, increased infant and maternal mortality, and lowered birth rates.1 It’s unclear how much of this was going on with Craig’s caribous, but he does admit that at least some of them were “diseased” and “dying of starvation,” so perhaps the introduction of wolves merely served to make conditions more convenient for humans and had nothing to do with finding “ecological balance” as Craig maintains.
Overcrowding in cats leads to deadly infighting and rampant disease, while overcrowding in baboons has similar consequences to the rats and cats. Overcrowding causes vervet monkeys to avoid one another, which in turn lowers birth rates and decreases social activities such as sharing and hunting. At least one study has shown that in animals where dominant males mate with several females, high population density may not cause but leads to violent takeovers and the wholesale slaughter of resident infants.2