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Monday, April 03, 2006

UPDATED: Dr. Doom: Yes, the story IS true. Don't blame me if the dead trees fell down on it.

Yes, the Dr. Doom story is true. The Texas Academy of Science really DID give its Distinguished Scientist award for 2006 to a prof who thinks it would be great if 90% of the human race died of the ebola virus.

And he was wildly applauded by fellow Texas scientists, and is adulated by students. It will be fun to watch Christian Darwinists politely defend him, citing academic freedom. Others are wondering about the fact that students may be encouraged by his antics to carry out his ideas. (9-11 provides sober evidence that the young may enact the pathologies of the old.)

(Note: If you came here looking for the original links to Dr. Doom, or as I call him, Dr. Death Plush (because he has a plush toy of his beloved ebola virus, honest), start here. )

Update: Pianka has attempted damage control, claiming that it's not true and that Forrest Mims is just jealous, but he adds, "If we don't control our population, microbes will. Why do we have these lethal microbes that kill us in the first place? The answer is, there's too many of us".

KXAN36 News Austin helps him out by noting "Pianka says he would never advocate genocide or extermination like some suggest he does."

Mims has just told me (2:30 a.m. Toronto time) that he had never heard of Pianka until he was introduced, and that the real problem here is that hundreds of people, including reputable journalists heard what he said. I wish someone would put their complete notes or a taped transcript from his address online.

Well, a local paper's reporter backs up that he did say things that can be interpreted that way. Jamie Mobley at the Sequin Gazette-Enterprise wrote,
The biggest enemy we face is anthropocentrism," he said, describing the belief system in which humans are the central element of the universe. "This is that common attitude that everything on this Earth was put here for [human] use."

To Pianka, a human life is no more valuable than any other - a lizard, a bison, a rhino. And as humans reproduce, the demand for resources like food, water and energy becomes more than the Earth can sustain, he says.

Someone had better tell his students he doesn't really mean you should follow up on that. One of them, biology senior Brenna McConnell , blogged,
Dr. Pianka's talk at the TAS meeting was mostly of the problems humans are causing as we rapidly proliferate around the globe. While what he had to say is way too vast to remember it all, moreover to relay it here in this blog, the bulk of his talk was that he's waiting for the virus that will eventually arise and kill off 90% of human population. In fact, his hope, if you can call it that, is that the ebola virus which attacks humans currently (but only through blood transmission) will mutate with the ebola virus that attacks monkeys airborne to create an airborne ebola virus that attacks humans. He's a radical thinker, that one! I mean, he's basically advocating for the death of all but 10% of the current population! And at the risk of sounding just as radical, I think he's right.

She doesn't sound so much radical, to judge from her blog, as just plain naive.

[Note from Denyse, April 7: If this post has since disappeared, you will have to take my word that it was up there on this date, and others read it. I have a hard copy dated 2006 04 04. I have just been informed (5:30 a.m.) that this kind of testimony has begun to disappear.]

Has she never wondered why Dr. Death Plush doesn't infect himself? According to what he told KXAN36 Austin, he cares about his grandkids. Huh? If he is old enough to have grandkids, we don't need him, do we? Anyway, why aren't they just more pollution if my granddaughter and I, for example, are? The trouble with sweet little old cranks like Pianka is that many of their students lack the skills to ask the right questions.

Forrest Mims, the science journalist who first broke the story at theCitizen Scientist now advises me that the dead tree media is currently lumbering to catch up. AP sat on the story over the weekend. Apparently, they believed that it was all actually a hoax. Yeah, really.

Why? Why a hoax? If a person really believes that humans are just accidentally brainy animals, why shouldn't one in ten bury the other nine? (One of Dr. Death Plush's delightful tropes.)
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being denied tenure at Baylor.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.

The Pope using the term "intelligent design" to describe the Catholic view of origins, go here.

Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams attacked by Darwinist, hits back. Will he now cartoon on the subject?

"Academic Freedom Watch : Here's the real, ugly story behind the claim that 'intelligent design isn't science'?".

Roseville, California, lawyer Larry Caldwell is suing over the use of tax money by Darwin lobby groups to promote religious views that accept Darwinian evolution (as opposed to ones that don’t). I’m pegging this one as the next big story. See also the ruling on tax funds. Note the line that the “free speech” people take.
How to freak out your bio prof? What happened when a student bypassed the usual route of getting frogs drunk and dropping them down the chancellor’s robes, and tried questioning Darwinism instead.

Christoph, Cardinal Schonbon is not backing down from his contention that Darwinism is incompatible with Catholic faith, and Pope Benedict XVI probably thinks that’s just fine. Major US media have been trying to reach rewrite for months, with no success.

Museum tour guides to be trained to "respond" to those who question Darwinism. Read this item for an example of what at least one museum hopes to have them say.

World class chemist dissed at Catholic university because he sympathizes with intelligent design.
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