Texas Scientist Advocates Killing 90% of Human Race
- Texas Scientist Advocates Killing 90% of Human Race
31 March 2006
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
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.
Forrest, who is a member of the Texas Academy and chairs its
Environmental Science Section, told me he would be unable to describe
the speech in The Citizen Scientist because he has protested the
speech to the Academy and he serves as Editor of The Citizen
Scientist. Therefore, to preclude a possible conflict of interest, I
have directed Forrest to describe what he observed and his reactions
in this special feature, for which I have served as editor and which
is being released a week ahead of our normal publication schedule.
Comments may be sent to Backscatter.
Shawn Carlson, Ph.D.,
Founder and Executive Director,
Society for Amateur Scientists
Special Editorial: Dealing with Doctor Doom
Shawn Carlson, Ph.D.
Meeting Doctor Doom
Forrest M. Mims III
Copyright 2006 by Forrest M. Mims III.
There is always something special about science meetings. The 109th
meeting of the Texas Academy of Science at Lamar University in
Beaumont on 3-5 March 2006 was especially exciting for me, because a
student and his professor presented the results of a DNA study I
suggested to them last year. How fulfilling to see the baldcypress (
Taxodium distichum ) leaves we collected last summer and my tree ring
photographs transformed into a first class scientific presentation
that's nearly ready to submit to a scientific journal (Brian Iken and
Dr. Deanna McCullough, "Bald Cypress of the Texas Hill Country:
Taxonomically Unique?" 109th Meeting of the Texas Academy of Science
Program and Abstracts [ PDF ], Poster P59, p. 84, 2006).
But there 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
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
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.
Pianka then displayed a slide showing rows of human skulls, one of
which had red lights flashing from its eye sockets.
AIDS is not an efficient killer, he explained, because it is too
slow. His 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. However,
Professor Pianka did not mention that Ebola victims die a slow and
torturous death as the virus initiates a cascade of biological
calamities inside the victim that eventually liquefy the internal
After praising the Ebola virus for its efficiency at killing, Pianka
paused, leaned over the lectern, looked at us and carefully said,
"We've got airborne 90 percent mortality in humans. Killing humans.
Think about that."
With his slide of human skulls towering on the screen behind him,
Professor Pianka was deadly serious. The audience that had been
applauding some of his statements now sat silent.
After a dramatic pause, Pianka returned to politics and
environmentalism. But he revisited his call for mass death when he
reflected on the oil situation.
"And the fossil fuels are running out," he said, "so I think we
may have to cut back to two billion, which would be about one-third
as many people." So the oil crisis alone may require eliminating
two-third's of the world's population.
How soon must the mass dying begin if Earth is to be saved?
Apparently fairly soon, for Pianka suggested he might be around when
the killer disease goes to work. He was born in 1939, and his lengthy
obituary appears on his web site.
When Pianka finished his remarks, the audience applauded. It wasn't
merely a smattering of polite clapping that audiences diplomatically
reserve for poor or boring speakers. It was a loud, vigorous and
Questions for Dr. Doom
Then came the question and answer session, in which Professor Pianka
stated that other diseases are also efficient killers.
The audience laughed when he said, "You know, the bird flu's good,
too." They laughed again when he proposed, with a discernable note
of glee in his voice that, "We need to sterilize everybody on the
After noting that the audience did not represent the general
population, a questioner asked, "What kind of reception have you
received as you have presented these ideas to other audiences that
are not representative of us?"
Pianka replied, "I speak to the converted!"
Pianka responded to more questions by condemning politicians in
general and Al Gore by name, because they do not address the
population problem and "...because they deceive the public in every
way they can to stay in power."
He spoke glowingly of the police state in China that enforces their
one-child policy. He said, "Smarter people have fewer kids." He said
those who don't have a conscience about the Earth will inherit the
Earth, "...because those who care make fewer babies and those that
didn't care made more babies." He said we will evolve as uncaring
people, and "I think IQs are falling for the same reason, too."
With this, the questioning was over. Immediately almost every
scientist, professor and college student present stood to their feet
and vigorously applauded the man who had enthusiastically endorsed
the elimination of 90 percent of the human population. Some even
cheered. Dozens then mobbed the professor at the lectern to extend
greetings and ask questions. It was necessary to wait a while before
I could get close enough to take some photographs (Fig. 1).
I was assigned to judge a paper in a grad student competition after
the speech. On the way, three professors dismissed Pianka as a crank.
While waiting to enter the competition room, a group of a dozen Lamar
University students expressed outrage over the Pianka speech.
Yet five hours later, the distinguished leaders of the Texas Academy
of Science presented Pianka with a plaque in recognition of his being
named 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist. When the banquet hall
filled with more than 400 people responded with enthusiastic
applause, I walked out in protest.
Corresponding with Dr. Doom
Recently I exchanged a number of e-mails with Pianka. I pointed out
to him that one might infer his death wish was really aimed at
Africans, for Ebola is found only in Central Africa. He replied that
Ebola does not discriminate, kills everyone and could spread to
Europe and the the Americas by a single infected airplane passenger.
In his last e-mail, Pianka wrote that I completely fail to understand
his arguments. So I did a check and found verification of my
interpretation of his remarks on his own web site. In a student
evaluation of a 2004 course he taught, one of Professor Pianka's
students wrote, "Though I agree that convervation [sic] biology is of
utmost importance to the world, I do not think that preaching that
90% of the human population should die of ebola [sic] is the most
effective means of encouraging conservation awareness." (Go here and
scroll down to just before the Fall 2005 evaluation section near the
Yet the majority of his student reviews were favorable, with one even
saying, " I worship Dr. Pianka."
The 45-minute lecture before the Texas Academy of Science converted a
university biology senior into a Pianka disciple, who then published
a blog that seriously supports Pianka's mass death wish.
Let me now remove my reporter's hat for a moment and tell you what I
think. We live in dangerous times. The national security of many
countries is at risk. Science has become tainted by highly publicized
cases of misconduct and fraud.
Must now we worry that a Pianka-worshipping former student might
someday become a professional biologist or physician with access to
the most deadly strains of viruses and bacteria? I believe that
airborne Ebola is unlikely to threaten the world outside of Central
Africa. But scientists have regenerated the 1918 Spanish flu virus
that killed 50 million people. There is concern that small pox might
someday return. And what other terrible plagues are waiting out there
in the natural world to cross the species barrier and to which
scientists will one day have access?
Meanwhile, I still can't get out of my mind the pleasant spring day
in Texas when a few hundred scientists of the Texas Academy of
Science gave a standing ovation for a speaker who they heard advocate
for the slow and torturous death of over five billion human beings.
Forrest M. Mims III is Chairman of the Environmental Science Section
of the Texas Academy of Science, and the editor of The Citizen
Scientist. He and his science are featured online at
www.forrestmims.org and www.sunandsky.org. The views expressed herein
are his own and do not represent the official views of the Texas
Academy of Science or the Society for Amateur Scientists.
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Others May Simply Live