April 3, 2006

HATING HUMANS (via Pepys):

Economic Growth-Our Common Foe (Neil K. Dawe, 03 April, 2006, Countercurrents.org)

Importantly, there seems to be recognition that economic growth is the root cause of climate change along with a host of other environmental problems.

Economic growth is a continual increase in the production and consumption of goods and services and is predicated on increasing population and per capita consumption. Most significantly to the conservation cause, economic growth invariably results in the conversion or draw-down of natural capital (i.e., ecosystems and their biodiversity). The result is an increasing and cumulative loss or degradation of ecosystem services, the very services that allow and sustain life on this planet. [...]

We at the QI also believe this is a rare opportunity for conservation organizations. Conservationists can choose to come together with one loud and unequivocal voice against economic growth, the limiting factor to biodiversity conservation, or we can continue to see our fragmented efforts continuously eroded by a faulty economic paradigm. The latter choice isn't likely of much comfort to all those species dependent for their survival on healthy ecosystems, and is certainly of no comfort at all to those species humanity has already pushed over the brink of extinction.

Neil K. Dawe
for the Directors,
The Qualicum Institute
A Society for ecological, social, and economic sustainability

Meeting Doctor Doom (Forrest M. Mims III, The Citizen Scientist)
Recently citizen scientist Forrest Mims told me about a speech he heard at the Texas Academy of Science during which the speaker, a world-renowned ecologist, advocated for the extermination of 90 percent of the human species in a most horrible and painful manner. Apparently at the speaker's direction, the speech was not video taped by the Academy and so Forrest's may be the only record of what was said. Forrest's account of what he witnessed chilled my soul. Astonishingly, Forrest reports that many of the Academy members present gave the speaker a standing ovation. To date, the Academy has not moved to sanction the speaker or distance itself from the speaker's remarks.

If the professional community has lost its sense of moral outrage when one if their own openly calls for the slow and painful extermination of over 5 billion human beings, then it falls upon the amateur community to be the conscience of science.

Shawn Carlson, Ph.D.,
MacArthur Fellow,
Founder and Executive Director,
Society for Amateur Scientists

[T]here was a gravely disturbing side to that otherwise scientifically significant meeting, for I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola. The speech was given by Dr. Eric R. Pianka (Fig. 1), the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.

Something curious occurred a minute before Pianka began speaking. An official of the Academy approached a video camera operator at the front of the auditorium and engaged him in animated conversation. The camera operator did not look pleased as he pointed the lens of the big camera to the ceiling and slowly walked away.

This curious incident came to mind a few minutes later when Professor Pianka began his speech by explaining that the general public is not yet ready to hear what he was about to tell us. Because of many years of experience as a writer and editor, Pianka's strange introduction and the TV camera incident raised a red flag in my mind. Suddenly I forgot that I was a member of the Texas Academy of Science and chairman of its Environmental Science Section. Instead, I grabbed a notepad so I could take on the role of science reporter.

One of Pianka's earliest points was a condemnation of anthropocentrism, or the idea that humankind occupies a privileged position in the Universe. He told a story about how a neighbor asked him what good the lizards are that he studies. He answered, “What good are you?”

Pianka hammered his point home by exclaiming, “We're no better than bacteria!”

Pianka then began laying out his concerns about how human overpopulation is ruining the Earth. He presented a doomsday scenario in which he claimed that the sharp increase in human population since the beginning of the industrial age is devastating the planet. He warned that quick steps must be taken to restore the planet before it's too late.

Saving the Earth with Ebola

Professor Pianka said the Earth as we know it will not survive without drastic measures. Then, and without presenting any data to justify this number, he asserted that the only feasible solution to saving the Earth is to reduce the population to 10 percent of the present number.

He then showed solutions for reducing the world's population in the form of a slide depicting the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. War and famine would not do, he explained. Instead, disease offered the most efficient and fastest way to kill the billions that must soon die if the population crisis is to be solved.

It always scares folks when the Death Lobby reveals its true intentions.

Posted by Orrin Judd at April 3, 2006 8:46 AM

I assume like George C. Scott at the end of "Dr. Strangelove", Dr. Pianka already has the underground bunker laid out for himself and the others who are to be among the surviving 10 percent (though I'm not sure if he'd prefer the same male-female ratio laid out at the end of that movie).

Posted by: John at April 3, 2006 9:35 AM

Which is why there cannot be a conservative environmentalism.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 3, 2006 9:44 AM

You don't have to hate Man to respect Creation. In fact, you have to hate God to disrespect Creation.

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2006 9:50 AM

Which is why there cannot be a conservative environmentalism, a movement that hates Man and elevates Creation above him.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 3, 2006 10:08 AM

Man can be separated from Creation. Dominion imposes responsibilities, rather than just granting benefits.

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2006 10:16 AM

Perhaps the good professor will achieve the greater good by leading the way with his own extermination.

Posted by: John Resnick at April 3, 2006 10:19 AM

This really is the scientific version of George Felos, now isn't it?

Everybody else must get out of the way (for ME)! Or, ME and my lizards. Nobody else.

But would he kill Peter Singer?

Posted by: jim hamlen at April 3, 2006 10:37 AM

John R:

To adopt one of the Left's favorite charges:


Posted by: Jim in Chicago at April 3, 2006 11:28 AM

Of course not. Like Margaret Sanger before him, the good professor only advocates the extermination of inferior peoples. Nobody he knows personally would be affected. (Well, maybe those Christers down the street with three or five kids, but they have it coming to 'em, you see.)

Posted by: Mike Morley at April 3, 2006 11:50 AM

Albigensians. We did the Albigensians for this kind of treason to humanity.

Posted by: Lou Gots at April 3, 2006 11:58 AM

When I was a kid, 40 years ago, people like this were often depicted in the movies, on TV and in the popular fictional publications. They were known as the "mad scientist", and they were thwarted by the various superheros of the day. Now, if a nutbag professor advocates killing off 90 percent of the human population, he gets awards, gushing student adolation and warm write-ups from the MSM. Where's a caped crusader when you need one?

Posted by: JonSK at April 3, 2006 12:54 PM

It's one of the reasons Americans hate scientists.

Posted by: oj at April 3, 2006 12:57 PM

Well we're all learning new ones, Jim of Chicago. Professor Pianko is a huge piece of Pelosi in my book. Where's James Bond when we need him?

Holy ebolee Batman ... it's the Lizard man.

Posted by: Genecis at April 3, 2006 1:29 PM

Welcome to the world of 12 Monkeys.

Posted by: Patrick H at April 3, 2006 1:40 PM

Would certainly solve that pesky global warming problem, though.

Posted by: joe shropshire at April 3, 2006 3:44 PM

Yes it would. There'd be 90% fewer eruptions of hot air from scientists like this.

Never mind whether or not he will volunteer or not to be killed. The sheer evil of his goal dwarfs any evil in his probable hypocrisy.

Posted by: BC Monkey at April 3, 2006 5:07 PM

Not to mention the fact that saving the planet "as we know it" is unscientific; the only thing constant is change. The "balance of nature" is an anthropomorphic norm--nature certainly doesn't care whether the world is filled with mammals, bacteria, or nothing.

Posted by: ted welter at April 3, 2006 5:11 PM

I'm sure that Karl Rove is working on a way to get Al Gore to endorse this guy, or get him to endorse Gore.

Posted by: Robert Duquette at April 4, 2006 12:51 AM

You might have waited a day or two before posting on this.

It is beginning to appear that Mims doctored his account a bit - Pianka is certainly guilty of being an ecological alarmist, and unfortunately one with an active sense of humor that is easily misinterpreted by audience members without their irony filters on. But by most accounts he is not advocating the extermination of 90% of the human race via an Ebola-like virus, but rather warning that this will happen at some point as an inevitable consequence of overpopulation. There is every indication that he views fewer humans as a good thing; there is little evidence, other than Mims' apparent mischaracterization, that he advocates genocide to bring this about.

All of which makes him a doomsday crank and a global misanthrope, which is bad enough. But word has it that William Dembski has reported him to the Dept. of Homeland Security. At that rate, Pat Robertson should have been reported a long time ago.

In addition, Mims, while a respected engineer and popular science writer, is also a young-earth creationist, and so may have his own axes to grind with ecologists warning of a coming apocalypse that differs from his own preferred brand.

Posted by: M. Bulger at April 4, 2006 1:07 PM


Irony? This is standard issue for the deep ecology crowd.

Posted by: oj at April 4, 2006 1:43 PM

"This" meaning what? Their belief that the planet would be better off with fewer humans on it, or the idea that we should engage in genocide to accomplish the goal? Because one is, regrettably, "standard issue." The other is libel.

Posted by: M. Bulger at April 4, 2006 1:51 PM

Both. Ehrich calls for the planet to be depopulated too. They just don't usually offer such specific plans.

Posted by: oj at April 4, 2006 2:06 PM

"They just don't usually offer such specific plans."

Which makes you complicit in the ongoing defamation. Whatever his other faults, Pianka isn't offering plans, but a warning. He's a crank, not a criminal.

Posted by: M. Bulger at April 4, 2006 3:22 PM

Twice in one week, you jumped the gun and criticized someone before you knew the facts.

First, you criticized Jill Carroll for her comments while in Iraq. Instead of counselling patience until she left the country, you immediately jumped on the bandwagon and stated that she was in with her kidnappers. You were wrong.

Now you criticize Professor Pianka based on ONE PERSON'S recollection. No investigation. No attempt to interview the professor. Now this man and his colleagues are receiving death threats for statements that were apparently not made or at the least, were misunderstood.

You have a platform with this blog. You have a responsibility to the public at large to use it responsibly.

Posted by: Barry at April 4, 2006 3:25 PM


No, not quite. I said before Ms Carroll was released that we should expect her to be released unharmed because her profile seemed similar to that of the others who were released. She was and ought to explain why.

Similarly, Dr,. Pianka is damned by his own views that there ought to be less humans.


But no one takes seriously the ravings of such people, until they take power that is.

Posted by: oj at April 4, 2006 3:51 PM


He hates humankind. That's all population control ever amounts to. Fortunately, he's in the wrong country to ever get to put his ideas into effect.

Posted by: oj at April 4, 2006 3:52 PM

I don't see any difference between what Mims reported and Dr. Pianka's own explanation. What's amazing is that what he writes is so amazingly shallow. I was particularly taken with this statement, from the essay OJ noted: Per capita shares of all the things that really matter (air, food, soil, and water) are continuously falling. That is breath-takingly dumb. And, of course, on his own terms we should note that the rate of fall is smaller now that it's ever been. Of course, the rate of fall was at it's highest when Eve was created and it the per capita environment fell by half.

Posted by: David Cohen at April 4, 2006 11:19 PM