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Scientist Given Award, Standing Ovation after Anti-Human Diatribe

June 1, 2006

An audience at the Texas Academy of Science was given a disturbing view into the mind and morals of a respected scientist on March 3 when Eric Pianka accepted the academy's 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist award.

An audience at the Texas Academy of Science was given a disturbing view into the mind and morals of a respected scientist on March 3 when Eric Pianka accepted the academy's 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist award.

Pianka, a professor at the University of Texas, described human beings as a "scourge" on the Earth, called for a police state to ensure mandatory sterilization of all U.S. citizens, and rooted for the lethal Ebola virus to mutate into an airborne form that might kill 90 percent of the people on Earth.

Forrest Mims, chairman of the academy's Environmental Science Section, began taking notes on Pianka's speech after an audience member was prohibited from filming the presentation. Another member of the audience surreptitiously turned on an audiocassette recorder.

The notes and partial transcript of the disjointed, rambling speech are eerily reminiscent of the Unabomber manifesto, in which Ted Kasczinski called for the destruction of technology and the death of people who in any way affect the Earth's environment.


Made Bizarre Statements

During his acceptance speech Pianka said, "We need to change our tax system so that you're taxed for having kids rather than getting a reward," as quoted in the April 6, 2006 Pearcey Report.

"After the human population collapses, there's going to be a lot fewer of us. Food's going to be diminished. Pollution's going to go down, which will be good. The bird flu's good, too."

Pianka continued, "The reason China was able to turn the corner and is gonna become the new super power in the world is because they got a police state and they can force people to stop reproducing.

"Instead of being cursed with our fertility, I would bless us with infertility," Pianka said. "I asked a reproductive physiologist years ago about this. I said, 'Could you design a molecule that you could administer once that would bind to the DNA to turn off reproduction and make people sterile?' And he said, yeah, theoretically. And I said, well, if you did that could you design an antidote that would unmask it just briefly for a few seconds? And he said, yeah, probably. So this is what we need. We need to sterilize everybody on the Earth [laughter] and make the antidote freely available to anybody who's willing to work for it.

"Immediately you'd get responsible parenthood," Pianka explained. "No more juvenile delinquents, unwanted kids. You have a kid, you had to work, and you had only a few seconds to do it in."


Cheered for Ebola Deaths

In a March 31 column in The Citizen Scientist, a biweekly publication of the Society for Amateur Scientists, Mims noted a few other striking comments from the Texas Academy of Science award winner. "One of Pianka's earliest points was a condemnation of anthropocentrism, or the idea that humankind occupies a privileged position in the Universe. Pianka hammered his point home by exclaiming, 'We're no better than bacteria!'" Mims pointed out.

Added Mims, "AIDS is not an efficient killer, [Pianka] 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 organs."


Students, Profs Gave Ovation

The most disturbing aspect of the speech, according to Mims, was not Pianka's ideas, but rather the reaction of the university students and so-called intelligentsia in attendance.

Observed Mims, "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 ovation was nearly unanimous, Mims notes. "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," Mims wrote. "Some even cheered. Dozens then mobbed the professor at the lectern to extend greetings and ask questions. ... 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."


Dangerous Times

"We live in dangerous times," explained Mims in his article. "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 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."


James M. Taylor (taylor@heartland.org) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.


For more information ...

"Meeting Dr. Doom," by Forrest M. Mims III, The Citizen Scientist, March 31, 2006, http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2006/2006-04-07/feature1p/.

"Dr. 'Doom' Pianka Speaks," The Pearcey Report, April 6, 2006, http://pearceyreport.com/archives/2006/04/transcript_dr_d.php/index.html.

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James Taylor is president of The Heartland Institute.
jtaylor@heartland.org