Acton Institute Powerblog

The 2006 Texas Distinguished Scientist wants you dead

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Well, maybe not you personally. But in his speech to the Texas Academy of Science in March, University of Texas Professor Eric Pianka did announce his hope that a mutated Ebola virus would wipe out ninety percent of the human population–soon.

His motives are, of course, the essence of nobility. We’ve bred like rabbits, you see, and drastic measures are needed to restore the balance.

Amateur scientist Forrest Mims broke the story in his column for The Amateur Scientist. (Full disclosure: Mims is a friend.) Drudge picked up the story over the weekend, so it’s now grown legs. I expect Pianka will soon receive one of those ritual denunciations that certain public university professors receive when their more philosophically consistent conclusions leak out. What is especially troubling, however, is not that some eccentric scientist said something crazy. What is troubling is that he received a standing ovation from hundreds of members of the Texas Academy of Science, who were in attendance.

This is no April Fools’ Joke. In fact, Bianka already has at least one new convert.

Jay Richards


  • Bill Zimmerly

    So how does this moonbat differ from Hitler, Stalin, etc.? Help me out here.

  • Randy Sprinkle

    Dear Dr. Eric R. Pianka

    I am writing to you in regards to the speech you made at the 109th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science at Lamar University in Beaumont on 3-5 March 2006.

    The idea of reducing the earths population by 90% has stimulated my mind and I wish to add the following thoughts on the issue:

    You said your favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world’s population is airborne Ebola ( Ebola Reston ), because it is both highly lethal and it kills in days, instead of years.

    The problem I see with Ebola is that it does not discriminate. You stated that everyone who survives would be responsible for burying nine others who did not, but you fail take into account the handicap, elderly, infants, and others who are not capable of burying the remains nine humans.
    May I suggest some type of genetically engineered flesh eating bacteria that would not only devour its victim in less than 24 hours but also would consume most of the remains?

    Another problem is that it would possible for many of the survivors to include retarded people or conservatives. A number of conservatives are involved in the pharmaceutical industry and this may give them an advantage against Eboli. The most likely people to die will be the poor minorities which tend to vote for liberal candidates, without them the remaining conservatives will surely take over the world and begin using the retarded people to build even more factories and SUVs.

    I realize that you think the earth is doomed and you wish to save it.
    However, instead of indiscriminately killing off 90% of the population without selection, I think the more logical solutions are as follows:

    Ignorance vs. Ebola

    It has been said that “ignorance is bliss“; So, if people do not realize that they are doomed they can still be happy.
    That leaves two types of people who cannot be happy:
    1. People that have Ebola or some life threatening disease (who are doomed)
    2. People who don’t but who are so intelligent that they have figured out that we are all doomed. (ie. intellectuals and college professors)

    If we eliminate these two types of people then everyone else has the prospect of being happy until they figure out they are doomed.

    The ultimate solution

    You stated in your speech; “We’re no better than bacteria!”

    In that statement lies the answer!
    Since we are no better than bacteria, What is?
    Like us bacteria must labor and eat and reproduce to survive and will eventually die anyway.
    However inorganic materials are superior to both humans and bacteria because they can exist without having to eat and they never die. Neither do they suffer or catch diseases and so have the prospect of being eternal.
    Therefore to create perfection you cannot eliminate 90% of life but it must be 100%.
    Most of the universe already exist in this state of perfection and it is only the earth that seems to have the burdens and imperfections of life.
    If the earth is rid of life then it can join the rest of the universe in a more perfect state which exist without effort, crime, sorrow, pain, and death.

    Sound like a plan?

    Thank you doctor for coming up with 90% of the solution to the complex problems of life.

    Randy Sprinkle
    Rockport, Texas

  • I would have to agree with Mr. Sprinkle. A flesh eating bacterium that kills then devours the corps would be ideal to cleans the Earth of human effluent. One must praise Dr. Pianka’s foresight in this matter. It will also make it easier for Jesus when he comes down to swoop up all the righteous souls to Heaven. Given the plague kills 90%, and Jesus takes another 5%, that should leave about 250 million or so to enjoy all the great beach property available.

  • Do you have a transcript of the speech? I found this on Pianka’s website and it sounds more like he is warning than “hoping” or “advocating.” Might Mims have mistooken or misprepresented the speech?

  • [url=]View source here.[/url]

    Apparently, video cameras were taken off-line minutes before Pianka began his speech. The article here is based on the notes of Forrest Mims, a scientist and member of the Texas Academy and chairs its Environmental Science Section.

  • This whole issue is not about what Pianka said, which is a typical warning about how humans disregard the facts of biology, sociology, and science in general, but how human EXHIBIT the laws of science in their behavior.

    As a member of the board of directors of a struggling older condominium association, I see this type of behavior all the time: when someone points out the problems ahead, attack the messenger by slightly changing his message.

    This is also known as a straw man argument. Mr. Pianka has already pointed out that he’s a conservative, that he has grandchildren, that it was a pointed and scary example of what COULD, NOT SHOULD, happen.

    Those who gleefully grasp the strawman and demolish it, and set it on fire, are missing the point that Pianka makes: There are so many humans, and so much disease as a result of inequality-based crowding, that it is almost inevitable (just like bird flu) that an airborne spread version of some horrible disease will evolve.

    What’s the big deal? Anyone who reads evolution and biology knows this already. Are you people so crazed with politics you can’t understand even the simplest science?

  • Court Jester

    Strange how the word “Think” appears prominently on your web page, yet you seem to not take your own advice.

    Mr Mims appears to have *deliberately* mischaracterized the essence of the speech. There was no wishing or hope for a pandemic, just a warning. You should perhaps have talked to your “friend” before abetting his attack on Dr. Pianka, or were you aware of what he was planning?

    It would seem that Mr. Mims is either too stupid to understand what Dr. Pianka was saying, or deliberately mischaracterized his speech in a fit of jealous rage. As a result, Dr. Pianka and scientists with little connection to him have received death threats. Nice job.

  • AST

    It’s not Bianka who worries me. His remarks may have been hyperbole, but how many of his students understand that. There is a society that urges mankind to become extinct. With this kind of rhetoric being spouted to young people, who knows what will result.

    Have you seen the film 12 Monkeys?

    I have never liked environmentalists because they either think they know more than they do or they only know slogans.
    They substitute environmentalism for religion, and they don’t believe in democracy. Global warming was tailor-made for them. It predicts either rising oceans or a new ice age, and it creates a perfect fundraising scare. If it occurs, we’ll have to deal with it, but sending money to the Sierra Club is the surest way not to.

  • Well, you illustrate the problem: IF it occurs, (then) we’ll deal with it.

    No foresight, planning?