Forrest Mims did not Misrepresent Prof. Eric Pianka's Statements

James Redford

Expanded Edition: April 13, 2006

Prof. Eric R. Pianka is an evolutionary ecologist who teaches courses in biology and zoology at the University of Texas at Austin. Prof. Pianka was named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist by the Texas Academy of Science at its 109th Annual Meeting held in early March 2006 at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.

At this meeting, Prof. Pianka gave a lecture on March 3, 2006. Forrest M. Mims III, the Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science, who was present during the lecture, claims in a March 31, 2006 article that in this lecture Prof. Pianka "enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola," and that he "spoke glowingly of the police state in China that enforces their one-child policy." (See "Meeting Doctor Doom," Forrest M. Mims III, The Citizen Scientist, March 31, 2006 http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2006/2006-04-07/feature1p/index.html .)

This March 31, 2006 article by Forrest Mims touched off public controversy concerning what it is that Prof. Pianka had actually stated during his March 3, 2006 lecture. Many individuals who were not present during this March 3, 2006 lecture by Prof. Pianka have claimed that people such as Forrest Mims have misrepresented Prof. Pianka's words as part of an anti-science "witch hunt" (despite the fact that Forrest Mims is himself the Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science, and is one of the most widely read electronics authors in the world).

Unfortunately, during the March 3, 2006 lecture by Prof. Pianka, audio and video recording devices were ordered to be turned off. Hence, as of the date of this writing, no recording of the full March 3, 2006 lecture is known to publicly exist. An audio recording apparently was made of part of this lecture, but it apparently only caught the ending of it. For a transcript of this partial recording, see "Dr. 'Doom' Pianka Speaks: Transcript From the Speech That Started It All," Pearcey Report, April 6, 2006 http://www.pearceyreport.com/archives/2006/04/transcript_dr_d.php/index.html .

But even though a full record is not currently known to publicly exist of what Prof. Pianka said during his March 3, 2006 lecture, I will present other sources of evidence which strongly demonstrate that Forrest Mims did not misrepresent what Prof. Pianka said during this lecture, and that Forrest Mims's account of the lecture is accurate.

I first present an account of this March 3, 2006 lecture by a supporter of Prof. Pianka who was present during the lecture, a one Brenna McConnell, a biology student and senior at Texas Lutheran University. Commenting on Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 Texas Academy of Science lecture in a March 9, 2006 post by her on her personal weblog (see http://www.geocities.com/jrredford/brenmccnnll.blogspot.com-2006-03-dr.html ), she says of the lecture, in part:

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.

Brenna McConnell went on to write in the same post, "Dr. Pianka made a very profound comment during his presentation; he said that China has the right idea by limiting reproduction at 1."

Thus, in her March 9, 2006 comments we see Forrest Mims's account of the statements made by Prof. Pianka concerning his desire that 90% of the human population be killed off with an airborne ebola virus and his support for China's enforced, mandatory maximum one-child policy is independently corroborated. Keep in mind that Brenna McConnell was writing as someone who supports Prof. Pianka. Also note that she wrote on this matter well before Forrest Mims published his March 31, 2006 article, and well before the public controversy surrounding Prof. Pianka started.

I now introduce an April 10, 2006 letter by Assistant Professor Kenneth R. Summy, Department of Biology at the University of Texas--Pan American and the Vice-Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science, which was sent to the President and the Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Science in support of Forrest M. Mims III's account of Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 lecture. (See "Letter by Prof. Kenneth R. Summy in Support of Forrest M. Mims III" http://www.geocities.com/jrredford/kenneth-summy-letter.html .) In this letter, Prof. Summy says, in part:

I attended the presentation given by Dr. Eric Pianka at the recent TAS meeting in Beaumont. ... My overall impression of Dr. Pianka’s presentation was a “doomsday” message that life on earth is about to end, and the sooner the human population crashes the better. I hope he was joking or being sarcastic when he stated that a pandemic of ebola virus would be great for the earth – no sane person would really believe that. ...

Forrest Mims did not misrepresent anything regarding the presentation. I heard these statements myself, and would be willing to bet that most of the audience attending the presentation got the same impression that I did. ...

So again we have an eyewitness to Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 lecture who confirms the accuracy of Forrest Mims's account of that lecture.

I next present a circa April 4, 2006 email by another supporter of Prof. Pianka, a one Rebecca M. Calisi, a Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Biology at the University of Texas at Arlington. (See "A Fellow Biologist's Response to the Watson and Jones Article on Prof. Pianka," Infowars, April 4, 2006 http://www.infowars.com/articles/commentary/emails_pianka_response_biologist.htm .) Rebecca Calisi sent this email in response to an April 3, 2006 article on Prof. Pianka by Paul Joseph Watson and Alex Jones. Rebecca Calisi was present during Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 lecture (you can see a picture of her smiling warmly at Prof. Pianka during that event here: http://www.sas.org/tcs/weeklyIssues_2006/2006-04-07/feature1p/images/fig1.jpg ). In that email by her, she wrote, in part, the following in support of Prof. Pianka:

I was in attendance at the Texas Academy of Science, and the only people (and there were very, VERY few) booing and hissing were the moronic creationists, angry that Pianka informed them they are not the "highest" creatures on this planet.

...

Eric Pianka is a brilliant, extremely well respected scientist. When your article states, "If Pianka, or 'The Lizard Man' as he likes to be called, is so vehement in the necessity of culling the human population will he step forward to be the first one in line? Will he sacrifice his children for the so-called greater good of the planet? We somehow doubt it."

Actually he said MANY TIMES that he would have no problem being the first to go, and fully understood (although saddened by the fact) that this would include his loved ones too!! He wishes no ill will toward anyone (he has children and grandchildren of his own you know), but there is NO DENYING the natural world would be a better place without people - ALL people! Not a selective bunch. Get it straight.

To liken Pianka to Hitler, etc., is the most absurd, ignorant comment anyone could make. He has spent his career trying to PROTECT life. He has inspired many a student to study, respect, and care for the natural world. Why are you trying to defame him when he is simply stating the facts??

Note that Rebecca Calisi was writing after the controversy surrounding Prof. Pianka had already become public. But in her email she doesn't make any attempt to deny the accounts that Prof. Pianka desires a large portion of the human population be killed off. Indeed, she reinforces the accuracy of those accounts by stating "Actually he said MANY TIMES that he would have no problem being the first to go, and fully understood (although saddened by the fact) that this would include his loved ones too!!" She even goes further than the statements attributed to Prof. Pianka in stating that, in her opinion, "there is NO DENYING the natural world would be a better place without people - ALL people! Not a selective bunch. Get it straight." According to Rebecca Calisi in her email, one apparently would have to be a "moronic creationist" to have a problem with large portions of the human population being killed off.

Thus, here again in the email by Rebecca Calisi, who supports Prof. Pianka, we find more independent eyewitness corroboration that Forrest Mims did not misrepresent Prof. Pianka's statements. Again, keep in mind that she was present during Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 lecture.

Next I will present evidence that Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 lecture was not the first time that he stated that it is his desire that a large portion of the human population be killed off, particularly with ebola.

The below two accounts are excerpts from student evaluations from Fall 2004, located on Prof. Pianka's personal University of Texas website and listed anonymously. (See "Biology 304 Evaluations" http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/~varanus/357evaluations.html .) One student writes the following concerning Prof. Pianka's class:

I don't root for ebola, but maybe a ban on having more than one child. I agree . . . too many people ruining this planet.

And another student writes regarding Prof. Pianka's class,

Though I agree that convervation biology is of utmost importance to the world, I do not think that preaching that 90% of the human population should die of ebola is the most effective means of encouraging conservation awareness. I found Pianka to be knowledgable, but spent too much time focusing on his specific research and personal views.

Hence, we have accounts from two different students who took classes by Prof. Pianka that Prof. Pianka has stated that it is his desire that at least some humans be killed off with ebola; 90% of the human population being killed off in said manner, as the second account states. Note that these students were writing well before Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 lecture, and well before the controversy surrounding Prof. Pianka's lecture statements became public. Further note that the above two student evaluations are only marginally critical on some points, while being supportive of Prof. Pianka on other points.

Also keep in mind that Prof. Pianka is in charge of posting these evaluations on his personal University of Texas website. Thus, if these comments were attempts to smear Prof. Pianka, or if they were misrepresentations his views, then Prof. Pianka was under no obligation to post them to his own personal webspace, and it is not very reasonable to think that Prof. Pianka would do so if he thought that they were misrepresentations of his views--without, at the very least, giving his own comment to them in reply. Therefore, by Prof. Pianka's own actions in posting these comments without any attempt to say that they were misrepresentations his views, this certainly suggests that he did not think that they were misrepresentations of his views.

So here again we have independent eyewitness corroboration that Prof. Pianka has made statements in the past that are consistent with the accounts of Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 lecture. And by implication, we have Prof. Pianka's own corroboration on this matter, in that he apparently did not think that the above student evaluations were misrepresentations of his views.

Now I turn to a circa April 5, 2006 email by a one Lenny Foster, who was a student of Prof. Pianka at the University of Texas. (See "A Former Pianka Student Speaks Out," Infowars, April 5, 2006 http://www.infowars.com/articles/science/pianka_former_student_speaks_out.htm .) In this email, Lenny Foster says, in part, the following about Prof. Pianka:

(I just wanted to talk about Dr. Pianka's comments. I had this professor for a class, and he actually said this to us TWICE in class! Oh, to clarify something for you, the 90% figure comes from the kill rate of ebola; it typically kills 9 out of 10 people it infects. I don't think it comes as much from the average of 85-95% population reduction plan, but Dr. Pianka clearly is a globalist.

He even gleefully went through the progression of ebola infection to death. Symptoms start out mild, but at some point, you start vomiting blood, sores break out on you, and you vomit parts of your esophagus. Make no mistake, he GLEEFULLY read over the gory details, he was actually giddy and smiling about it.

...

2 things. 1, you are fairly accurate with your assertion that universities inundate you with population control. In a number of classes, even non-biology classes, I have heard references to overpopulation. But, I haven't heard any open calls for extermination like I did in Pianka's class. 2, a number of people I have told about Pianka's outrageous statements actually SUPPORTED his position! They wanted more info on his class; they actually WANTED to take his class because of his call for near-global extermination. It's incredible.

So again we have further independent eyewitness corroboration that Prof. Pianka has stated prior to his March 3, 2006 lecture that it is his desire that a large portion of the human population be killed off.

Conclusion

When one takes into consideration all of the above eyewitness accounts of statements made by Prof. Pianka then it becomes apparent that Forrest Mims did not misrepresent what Prof. Pianka said during his March 3, 2006 lecture, and that Forrest Mims's account of the lecture is accurate. These eyewitness accounts are by Brenna McConnell and Rebecca M. Calisi, both of whom are supporters of Prof. Pianka, and both of whom were present during his March 3, 2006 lecture. Another eyewitness to Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 lecture is Prof. Kenneth R. Summy, who backs-up Forrest Mims's account of that lecture. So also this includes eyewitness accounts that Prof. Pianka has stated prior to his March 3, 2006 lecture that it is his desire that a portion of the human population be killed off, with ebola featuring in all of these accounts and the 90% figure featuring in two of them: i.e., in class evaluations by two students of Prof. Pianka posted on his own personal University of Texas webspace, and in an email by Lenny Foster, who was a student of Prof. Pianka at the University of Texas. Concerning the previous sentence, by implication Prof. Pianka himself corroborates the two students' accounts of his views given in the evaluations, in that he apparently did not think that said student evaluations were misrepresentations of his views, as he posted them on his personal webspace when he was under no obligation to do so and without giving any comment of his own stating that they were misrepresentations his views.

To maintain that Forrest Mims misrepresented what Prof. Pianka said during his March 3, 2006 lecture, one would so also have to maintain that Brenna McConnell and Rebecca M. Calisi, two supporters of Prof. Pianka who were present during his March 3, 2006 lecture, also have misrepresented what Prof. Pianka said during that lecture; moreover, that these two supporters of Prof. Pianka gave the same misrepresentation of Prof. Pianka's statements that Forrest Mims did. Furthermore, one would also have to contend that eyewitness Prof. Kenneth R. Summy has misrepresented Prof. Pianka's March 3, 2006 lecture in the same way that Forrest Mims did. And to maintain that Prof. Pianka has not made statements that he desires that a large portion of the human population be killed off with ebola, one would have to discard the Fall 2004 class evaluations by the two students spoken of above, of which were implicitly corroborated by Prof. Pianka himself, as well as Lenny Foster's email.

In sum, to maintain that Forrest Mims misrepresented what Prof. Pianka said during his March 3, 2006 lecture, or that Prof. Pianka has not made statements that he desires that a large portion of the human population be killed off with ebola, is an exceedingly untenable position which is contradicted by the available evidence.

Clarification of Some Recent Confusion

A number of commentators on the recent controversy surrounding Prof. Pianka have made mistakes as to which specific speaking event by Prof. Pianka is being referred to by Forrest Mims in his March 31, 2006 article. In that article by Forrest Mims, he refers to the March 3, 2006 lecture by Prof. Pianka at the 109th Annual Meeting of the Texas Academy of Science held at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas. This is the same lecture that Brenna McConnell, Rebecca M. Calisi and Prof. Kenneth R. Summy were at. Some have confused this event with the March 31, 2006 speech by Prof. Pianka at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. (For that March 31, 2006 speech, see "St. Edward's University transcript," Seguin Gazette-Enterprise, April 6, 2006 http://www.google.com/search?q=cache:wGYXS2KUqBYJ:seguingazette.com/story.lasso%3Fewcd%3D3817403731ee3d74%26page%3Dall .) The analysis provided above by me specifically concerns the March 3, 2006 lecture given by Prof. Pianka and statements made by him prior to that date.


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