April 2, 2006

Ebola Is The Answer

It's not so shocking to hear that a University of Texas evolutionary ecology professor advocates depopulating the planet Earth by killing a few billion people with the Ebola virus, because we are "no better than bacteria", and we are despoiling the planet, scourging the earth, you know the drill. There are cranks with tenure in universities all over the world. He probably didn't even make Horowitz's book.

What is much more disturbing is that after a recent speech before The Texas Academy of Science, in which Dr Eric Pianka put forth his gruesome mass-death scenario as environmental policy, he was greeted with an enthusiastic standing ovation, and has also been named the recipient of the Academy's 2006 Distinguished Scientist Award.

A last minute decision prohibited videotaping of the speech, because Pianka says the general public is not yet ready to hear what he has to tell us, and that for now, he "speak[s] to the converted". You know, the enlightened of the Texas Academy of Science, and other bien pensant types, who already realize that if we are to save the planet, we are going to have to kill two thirds of the human beings on it, preferably in the most horrific fashion. It's quick, you understand. The rest of us will presumably be told when we're "ready."

Dr. Pianka is said to have several students who "idolize" him. Have any kids in college? (via Drudge)

UPDATE 4/2: A follow up article on Dr. Pianka and his weirdness.

UPDATE:4/3: Wow. Amazing comment thread here, generated by a link from this post, featuring acquaintances of Dr. Pianka on both sides of the debate. Even if we were all agreed (we aren't) that man is the scourge of the Earth, and agreed that hypothetically the Ebola virus would be an efficient killer of huge quantities of humans, I guess the question must be; is that an outcome that is to be hoped for, or thought desirable, as seems to be Dr. Pianka's view?

No, that's a sick and reprehensible view, in the opinion of your humble blogger. Carry on.

The April Fools Day hoax idea did occur to me, and if Dr. Pianka is somewhere in Texas tonight still chortling into his beard over the furor he has caused, then good for him. I doubt it.

UPDATE 4/3: Pianka responds. He was taken out of context, he says:

Pianka said he was only trying to warn his audience that disease epidemics have happened before and will happen again if the human population growth isn't contained.

He said he believes the Earth would be better off if the human population were smaller because fewer natural resources would be consumed and humans wouldn't continue to destroy animal habitats. But he said that doesn't mean he wants most humans to die.

Posted by dan at April 2, 2006 3:56 PM