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“We need to plan our collapse rather than just let it happen to us.” –Eric Pianka


The scientific establishment is closing ranks and now portraying Pianka as a benefactor of humanity despite his recommendation that 90% of humans be eliminated by airborne Ebola (see previous entries about Pianka on this blog). For an example of the spin, look here: http://www.kxan.com/Global/story.asp?S=4720390. Interestingly, a video interview with Pianka that is available at that site has now been doctored. At the close of the interview (before it was doctored, and which was available earlier today), Pianka is heard saying: “We need to plan our collapse rather than just let it happen to us.” One could almost think this is an invitation to bioterrorism.

Before you buy the upcoming media spin on Pianka (“he’s just a kindly, saintly old biologist deeply concerned about overpopulation who is being misrepresented by right-wing extremists”), ask yourself if it doesn’t strike you as odd that prior to making his speech before the Texas Academy of Sciences (the speech that led to all the uproar), Pianka requested cameras and tape recorders be switched off because folks aren’t ready to hear what he has to say. And now, when word of what he said gets out, he wants to play the part of the injured, misunderstood party.

Let’s be clear: Pianka has not recanted anything. But he is now overtly denying what he said. Not to worry. The local newspaper and TEXAS MONTHLY have tapes of a second speech in which he made essentially the same points about ridding the earth of humans. Transcripts of the second speech are being made and will be available shortly.
And from Shawn Carlson:

… Professor Pianka has never, so far as I know, advocated that human beings should act to bring about the depopulation of the planet. He says only that he thinks that it will happen, that it has to happen if the earth is too survive, and he strongly implies that he thinks it would be a good thing if it did happen. So, is Pianka really a dangerous man?

Sadly, I think he is. You see, I’m old enough to remember another desert-living child of the ’60s who once had followers. And Professor Pianka is much more charismatic than Charlie Manson ever was. Moreover, Pianka has access to captive audiences of impressionable young students in his college classes and lectures….


Joseph I agree that we don't know, and that I cannot say with any certainty that there will not be a pathogen capable of killing 90% of humanity. My point is there are many reasons to think that there will not be and scant reason to believe that there will be. We should be alarmed but it is hard to take an unlikely doomsday scenario as seriously as a more level headed analysis of the potential outcomes of our current practices. I think any lessons that are learned from disasters by humanity have a cultural memory period proportional to the devastation they cause. We don't really seem capable of engraining lessons without painful reminders. This is my greatest cause of pessimism about our race. Our ability to learn and remember the important lessons that history has taught us ought to grow along with our ability to manipulate the world. It seems that we have been somewhat succesful in accomplishing this, but the pace of our cultural advancement seems to be lagging farther and farther behind our technological advancement. I would agree that that is cause for concern. ftrp11
Joseph - Actually, we have a fairly good grasp on the nature of epidemics, these days. Modern sanitation makes it awfully hard for any bug to spread far enough, fast enough to do so much damage. That, and the fact that populations in the modern West are fairly spread out (the 1918 epidemic ripped through large populations that were packed together in tenements.) Ftrp11 is right - the black death, perhaps the worst plague in history, killed at most 1/3 of the population of europe, in an era of bad sanitation and no understanding of the disease's transmission path. Fantasies about a disease killing 90% of the world are just that - fantasties. It's similar to the more fringe parts of the "peak oil" crowd, like Jim Kunstler. These people see modern society as a pestilence, and foresee the wrath of God coming to wipe it out. (Of course, they don't believe in God, so they talk in materialist terms, but the idea is the same.) They pretend to be warning people, but their rhetoric betrays a deep longing for death and destruction. Back before the utter failure of the Soviet experiment, these sorts of people could dream of a revolution that would wipe away the past and create a "New Soviet Man". But those dreams are dead now. Humanity has proven that it cannot be reformed, so they see the only alternative to be it's utter destruction. Of course, most of these people are harmless cranks. The problem comes when some excitable student hears his speech and takes it upon himself to make it come true. That's why the authorities would do well to keep an eye on them. jimbo
As an aside (since I don't find Pianka remarkable in the least; misanthropes abound throughout history) - did anyone notice the "evolutionary mythology" prevalent in the article linked to? So many things attributed to "evolution," so little evidence... jaredl
ftrp11: I hate to break it to you but no disease is going to wipe out 90% of the population. We just don't know. ftrp11: For one thing there is absolutely no historical precident for such a deadly contagion. Since when do pathogens care about history? Maybe that will work- when a pandemic breaks out we will throw history books at the infected. ftrp11: At any rate, any tradegedy of our own making that befalls humanity, as horrible as it might well be, will only be a hiccup in the big picture of human history. Hiccups are recurring. If something like that happens it had better be more than a hiccup. It should be documented and ingrained so it doesn't happen again. Joseph
Oh Joseph I hate to break it to you but no disease is going to wipe out 90% of the population. For one thing there is absolutely no historical precident for such a deadly contagion. Ebola kills too quickly. It could spread around the world but it shows itself so quickly that quarantine would enable us to let the contagion burn out. If anything we are in a much better position then at any other time in our history to deal with a new pandemic. So don't hold your breath waiting. A pandemic is inevitable at some point, but a 90% global death rate is an absurd and baseless prediction. Pianka is a loon. I don't think he is as malicious as Mimms implies, but again we need transcripts. I think that ecological disasters of an order that has not yet been witnessed are a significant possibility in the coming century. We certainly should develop a better sense of stewardship as a race, and it would be nice if we could learn the lesson the easy way for once. I fear that we won't, but one can hope. At any rate, any tradegedy of our own making that befalls humanity, as horrible as it might well be, will only be a hiccup in the big picture of human history. ftrp11
I did some more resaerch last night and Pianka does seem to be more than a bit ecentric. His alarmist anti-human rhetoric is fairly absurd. He decries humanity as being outside of nature and spoiling "nature's balance." This is an odd position to take for an evolutionist. According to ET we are a product of nature and therefore part of it. Our technology and change of the environment is just as natural as a beaver's dam. He decries anthropocentrism but is guilty of just that. The difference is that he denegrates humanity below nature instead of elevating it above the natural world. ftrp11
while it may be true that a population-culling pandemic is in the works, and it may also be true that Pianka was merely being honest about this, it is also true that the attitude of cheering and clapping at the prospect of the mass destruction of life betrays an almost inhuman coldness and a casual indifference about the suffering such an event would lead to. If someone is going to seriously give warnings about population problems, and that person is motivated by love and concern, that would become obvious in their manner of presentation and their proposal of solutions. Such concern seems utterly lacking based on reports of Pianka's comments. It is also different if the Creator sees fit to bring about such an event, as one can concede at least in theory that said Creator has a broader and more complete view of what is necessary and proper at any given time. Humans taking such decisions into their own hands is the worst possible case scenario, and shows the lack of humility which is usually at the root of what invokes the "wrath of God" to begin with! tinabrewer
Here is my post from below: crandaddy- some call it the NWO (New World Order). My suggestion is to “become” a member of a top secret society (skull & bones)- or get the heck “out-of-dodge”. I take a different view of Pianka- one that the avian flu, SARS, AIDS, Ebola X, etc., conjure year after year. He is just being honest about it. “Germs” can travel and spread much faster today and thanks to the failure neo-Darwinism has afforded biology, we just cannot deal with an outbreak. Only those already resistant (or isolated) will survive. Back in my “Christian” years I used to walk around wondering- “Well it was water last time and that was said to be it for that mechanism. So what will it be next? Go out with the bang of an asteroid impact? Or the whimper of an epidemic (think of the martians in “War of the Worlds”)? I even wrote a paper on that topic (massive culling of populations) in one of my English Comp courses. I think Pianka is just saying we are ripe for destruction and it is of our own doing. If we don’t do something now it may be too late- he is using “shock tactics”. And to clarify what I said earlier- IF we don't shape up a massive population culling wouldn't be a bad thing. I can't turn a blind-eye to what is going on in the world and I doubt the creator or designer can either. I also firmly believe if we were given the ultimatum- shape up or get hit by a pandemic- the pandemic may not be the choice but it would be the outcome, because we just can't "shape-up" as a race. Joseph
To all Bible believers- was the Flood a good thing or a bad thing? Many people died- all but 8. Was the wiping out of the first born in Egypt a good thing or a bad thing? Didn't many of those Egyptians have their life in front of them? I guess we should take this "God" character to court. As I stated I have been many places and observed first-hand the evil that we do. We rape our planet, pollute the air, water and land. We ignore peoples' pleas for help because we are too busy watching "American Idol". For the most part we think mainly of ourselves and not of the consequences of our actions. If this pisses me off what do you think the creator of life and this planet makes of it? That is why I hang my head in shame. Sure there are some good people. Hopefully they make it. I also believe you guys are misreading Pianka. I think he is just pointing out the obvious- that we are ripe for destruction- by our own hand. And as I said in another thread thanks to the total failure neo-Darwinism has afforded biology we couldn't stop a pandemic. And no, it (any population culling pandemic) doesn't have to be started by someone anymore than the "black death" was. With transportation the way it is any local epidemic can spread rapidly. And as I said before we are in no shape to deal with it. Sorry but that is just the way it is. However I look at this as a wake-up call, not a doomsday thing. But if we don't wake up we will be doomed. (did anyone see "28 days later"?) Joseph
Hey Joseph Are you nucking futs? So you are honestly saying that it would not be a bad thing? Unbebucking felievable?!?! Death cometh to us all, that is certain. Another thing though is certain: I will not stand there watching when a lunatic aka Pissanka decides how my life should end and when. Open your ...ucking eyes. Thou shalt not murder! Honest condolences to you an those around you who have lost a dear friend recently. But now clear your head for a minute and think again how you would like to bury 9 friends or more in a week because some "as-s-wipe Idiot" decides it is a ...ucking great idea??? Sorry I need to go puke again, wtf? And if you really have been to all these places you say, I would expect a bit mor farsight from someone that has seen the world. "People die. It’s what we do. Either you fall from scaffolding, have scaffolding fall on you or you get caught up in a pandemic." What would you do if you found out that someone took out some screws from the collapsed scaffolding, or started guided pandemic? Would you still "...hang (your) head in shame and say that may not be a bad thing."?? tb
In that speech Pianka murmured sth. about falling IQs. But IQ's were on the constant rise for at least 30 years - the so-called Flynn effect. It's true less bright people have more offspring, but IQs have been rising nonetheless. Not-so-exemplary-scholar this Mr. Pianka. SBlank
Joseph 6 billion people dying of a hideous disease may not be a bad thing? Are you nucking futs? People occasionally dying young of accidents or disease is one thing and it's always tragic in my experience. Old people who've lived full lives dying is another thing and while sad it's not tragic. This ebola scenario would take out billions of children and young adults with virtually their whole lives in front of them. That's not a good thing. DaveScot
Man the world just seems to get more weird everyday!. I hope Homeland Security takes this seriously and take this loon down. Even just evaluating his mental health will no doubt warrant for his induction to the nearest looney-bin. We just don't need another environmental Nazi. Charlie Charliecrs
The reports from people who actually read the transcript pretty much confirm Pianka was taking a hard line saying an airborne ebola virus killing 90% of humanity would be a wonderful thing in the big picture. Having been to 43 of our 50 States and 72 countries, kingdoms, territories & pricipalities on 5 continents, I can humbly hang my head in shame and say that may not be a bad thing. People die. It's what we do. Either you fall from scaffolding, have scaffolding fall on you or you get caught up in a pandemic. (sorry for the rant. a friend died in Boston yesterday while working on a building at Emerson college. the 4th friend that died in the last month.) Joseph
Did anyone bother to download the unedited interview? johnnyb
As far as the plan our collapse comment goes I suspect that he has read Diamond's Collapse and other literature about why civilizations collapse. He does reference Diamond's Guns Germs and Steel on his website. He has probably drawn parrallels between our civilization and other failed civilizations and believes that we are headed for a similar fate. He is most likely implying that we need to learn from humanity's past failures to prepare for the, in his opinion, inevitable ecological disasters to come. ftrp11

I need to wait for the transcripts to pass judgement. It seems to me that it is odd for hundreds of people to applaud the proposed murder of over 5.8 billion of their brothers. That accusation reeks of malicious manipulation, extreme paranoia, or more likely some combination of the two. It seems much more likely that it was an alrmist speach where the lefty academic says we are screwing the planet and if we don't change our ways the planet is going to screw us. That kind of stuff I can see being enthusiastically recieved in academia even though it is tough to support with any well founded conviction. But, like I said, I will have to wait for the transcripts.

The speech before the Texas scientist association was the damning one. Pianka has been holding his tongue, more or less, elsewhere. Transcripts of the Texas speech are being withheld from the press. One might reasonably wonder why the transcript is being kept close to the vest, eh? A few people were allowed to read it provided they didn't quote it or let anyone else see it. The reports from people who actually read the transcript pretty much confirm Pianka was taking a hard line saying an airborne ebola virus killing 90% of humanity would be a wonderful thing in the big picture. -ds ftrp11

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