Intelligent Design

Mims gets Pianka right according to Kenneth Summy

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Dr. Kenneth R. Summy attended the Texas Academy of Science speech by Professor Eric Pianka. Dr. Summy sent an unsolicited letter to the President and the Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Science that specifically states Forrest Mims did not misrepresent Pianka’s keynote address.

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Subj:Petition
Date:4/10/2006
Time: 1:49:37 PM CST
To: President and Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Science

Attached is a response I sent to Dr. Kathryn Perez regarding the allegation that Forrest Mims misrepresented the content of the keynote address at the recent TAS meeting. A lot of the cc’s listed in Dr. Perez’s original message failed to get through, so I am resending.

Forrest Mims did not misrepresent anything regarding the contents of the keynote address, and should be commended for openly expressing his concerns – many of us out here feel exactly the same way.

Hope these comments are helpful.

Dr. Kenneth R. Summy
Department of Biology
University of Texas, Pan American

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Dear Dr. Perez:

I attended the presentation given by Dr. Eric Pianka at the recent TAS meeting in Beaumont. While academic freedom is fine, distinguished scientists delivering keynote addresses at scientific meetings have a responsibility to their audience (and the society they are representing) to do so in a manner that is not unduly offensive to anyone present. 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. Also, at least two statements made during the presentation essentially constituted a direct attack on a major religious leader (the Pope), which was completely uncalled for. Dr. Pianka chose to deliver an inflammatory message in his keynote address, so he should not be surprised to be the recipient of a lot of criticism from TAS membership.

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. In my opinion, the message contained in the keynote address detracted from what was otherwise an excellent meeting.

Thanks for your time.

Dr. Kenneth R. Summy
Department of Biology
University of Texas, Pan American

8 Replies to “Mims gets Pianka right according to Kenneth Summy

  1. 1
    Charlie says:

    Thank you.

    Unless Dr. Summy happens to believe anything but the strictest of Darwinian evolution this should settle the “Mims is a liar” issue.

  2. 2

    Even MORE Evidence Supporting Forrest Mims

    William Dembski has posted a letter to Kathryn Perez, who started the petition against Forrest Mims, from Dr. Kenneth R. Summy, from the University of Texas Biology Department. The letter states that Mims did NOT lie or misrepresent what Dr. Pianka s…

  3. 3
    scordova says:

    Thanks Bill for posting this! Forrest is a good man, and I’m glad to see people coming out to support his account of that meeting.

    Salvador

    My professional career in electronics and then computers and software was inspired by building a Heathkit (Radio Shack) ham radio at 12 years of age in 1968. Forrest was then about 22 and just beginning to make his mark starting with Radio Shack electronic kits and publishing in magazines I faithfully read cover to cover every month – Popular Electronics, Popular Science, and (I’m not sure he published here but…) Popular Mechanics. In 1982 I made my own mark by having a portable computer that I and one other engineer designed appear with its picture on the cover of Popular Electronics. Forrest has had and continues to have a significant positive influence in my life. Thank you Forrest Mims. You are indeed a good man in every sense of the word. -ds

  4. 4

    I updated my below article on the Prof. Eric R. Pianka controversy to include Associate Professor Kenneth R. Summy’s letter in support of Forrest Mims:

    “Forrest Mims did not Misrepresent Prof. Eric Pianka’s Statements,” James Redford, expanded edition, April 13, 2006:

    http://www.geocities.com/jrred.....-mims.html

    “Letter by Prof. Kenneth R. Summy in Support of Forrest M. Mims III”:

    http://www.geocities.com/jrred.....etter.html

  5. 5

    Excuse me, the above should read Assistant Professor Kenneth R. Summy.

  6. 6
    scordova says:

    Welcome James! Thanks for that article earlier, and thanks for coming to the support of Forrest Mims. People are out to defame him because he told the truth. A good man like that deserves our support.

  7. 7
    scordova says:

    James,

    I was really impressed with you finding a commentary by a Pianka supporter by the name of Rebecca Calisi. Her post says it all:

    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.

    In other words, for Rebecca and Pianka, mass extermination of all people would be a good thing so microbes and cockroaches can rule the world. What a charming Darwinian view of reality.

    Now, let’s ask ourselves, if her view is so low of humanity, why should this grad student have any respect ultimately for human laws? I mean, if seeing people killed in her view is a good thing, is there anything really inhibiting her from precipitating it herself should the means fall in her lap. Do I recall something about Mims concern that some students might take it upon themselves to help Pianka’s dream come true?

  8. 8
    terrylmirll says:

    I appreciated Dr. Summy’s comments in defense of Forrest Mims, but I found his statement “no sane person would really believe that” to be somewhat naive. Only those of us who believe in objective reality and moral law would refuse to believe such a thing. Those who say morality is subjective might very well believe that a virus wiping out 90% could be a good thing. Dr. Pianka apparently believes so–not because he is insane, but because he follows Darwinistic principles to their logical consequences.

    Further, such wanton disregard for human life is quite well suited to the Darwinistic mindset, which holds all life as having arising from blind, uncaring, purposeless natural causes; as life is merely an accident, it has no real meaning and no purpose. Therefore, human beings are no better than cockroaches and can be exterminated just as readily. If your house is infested with roaches, you spray it; if your planet is infested with human beings who burn up too many fossil fuels and make a mess of their environment, an ebola outbreak that wipes out 90% of that infestation is doing your planet a favor.

    Is it really such a surprise that Pianka thinks so? After all, it was Darwinism which gave rise to (or, at least, significantly influenced) such great human experiments as: robber baron capitalism, the eugenics movement, and, applied in its most brutal form, the Holocaust. Practitioners of such things merely rationalized that their victims were simply unfit for survival. And if natural selection is the overarching feature of the world, and survival of the fittest its only principle, how can we say they were wrong?

    But life matters. Therefore, Darwinism is false.

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