Pharyngula

Pianka and Mims

I’m getting some email requests to state my opinion on some claims by Forrest M. Mims. Mims attended a talk by Eric Pianka, in which he claims Pianka advocated the “slow and torturous death of over five billion human beings.” I wasn’t there, and I don’t know exactly what was said, but I will venture a few opinions and suggestions.

  • Read Wesley Elsberry, who does know Pianka’s work and has his own take on the interpretation of the talk.
  • I assure you that biologists do not have a secret plan to deliberately murder nine-tenths of the planet’s human beings in order to make room for more bacteria. The suggestion is ludicrous and is little more than an absurd conspiracy theory.
  • There are, of course, cranks who do think it would be a good idea to kill billions. There is no reason to think that Pianka is one of them. Mims reports that his talk was “vigorously applauded”, “cheered”, and that dozens “mobbed” Pianka afterwards. A suggestion as heinous as the one Mims claimed was made would not be so warmly received. Are we really to believe that a large audience of biologists did not muster one question or complaint at the suggestion that billions should be killed?
  • There’s another account of the talk online. It mentions nothing of a plan to intentionally infect people with airborne ebola and kill a majority of the people on Earth. Pianka does clearly state that the planet is overpopulated and that we cannot sustain our growth, and may have already exceeded what we can maintain at a desirable style of living. That’s the kind of thing an audience of ecologists would readily agree to, and is a truth they would applaud as an honest and strongly stated opinion.
  • Forrest Mims is not a credible source. He is a disgruntled creationist with a serious dislike of the science establishment, who has been carping for years about it. He has an overt bias and it is in his self-interest to play up accusations of ‘evil’ among scientists. They rejected him, after all, so they must be bad…and here’s proof!
  • I suspect that what we have here is a vocal scientist who tactlessly spoke an unpleasant truth—we are burning through the resources of our world at a prodigious and unsustainable rate, heedless of the future, and we can expect Nature in the form of a devastating disease to strike back—and once again, a kook from outside the reality-based community is using that as an excuse to demonize the messenger.

Comments

  1. #1 John M. Price
    April 2, 2006

    For a long time now there has been the conspiracy theory that the neocons, Bohemian Grove, etc., etc. are planning on bringing the population to 500,000. World wide.

    Frankly, I think it is simply fear mongering and conspiracy building and is entirely fact free. That, even if some document mentions that number as the most ideal number of this species.

  2. #2 Tiger Spot
    April 2, 2006

    I took Evolutionary Ecology from Dr. Pianka a few years ago. He’d frequently get sidetracked onto:

    1. Cool Australian lizards.
    2. His buffalo.
    3. How much he disliked his neighbors who kept killing rattlesnakes.
    4. How some horrible disease is going to wipe out huge chunks of the population any year now, and how pleased he will be when that happens.

    So, yep, sounds like Dr. Pianka to me. The quotes in the article all sound pretty familiar.

  3. #3 Mike the Mad Biologist
    April 2, 2006

    PZ,

    when I was at SUNY Stony Brook, Pianka gave a similar talk where he said the same offensive crap. What Tiger Spot said sounds right, except we got the 45 minute version. My recollection is that it didn’t go over very well. He does know his lizards however.

  4. #4 Michael Geissler
    April 2, 2006

    Funny, I thought it was God who had the plan to torture and kill billions of people. Book of Revelation, anyone?

  5. #5 Moody
    April 2, 2006

    “…[We] can expect Nature in the form of a devastating disease to strike back….”

    Nature, I suspect, has no intention whatsoever. “Strike back” is a phrase implying intention. Light a fire, put your finger in, you get burned through no intention of the fire.

    I’m not trying to scold anyone here, but I always worry that such language is just what IDiots love to see, because it looks like some sort of tacit acknowledgement of just the kind of “intelligence” they promote. I’m guilty of using such language, myself, from time to time — it fits my occasionally poetic leanings — but I would gladly disabause anyone of the notion that I “believe” any “supernatural” agency or “intelligent designer” is behind whatever curtain, pulling whatever strings.

    But look who I’m telling! Haha! 😉

  6. #6 John Marley
    April 2, 2006

    I’m sorry that this is off topic, but is that the same Forrest M. Mims that wrote those “Engineer’s Notebooks” for Radio Shack back in the ’80s and ’90s? Just curious.

  7. #7 Jason Malloy
    April 2, 2006

    Being misanthropic to underline an urgent point is different than the conspiratorial fascism implied in this article. What it sounds like to me is the same kind of psychology used by a stern father urging maturity in the face of defiant recklessness: “If you go out there skateboarding on those icy steps you are going to fall and break your head, and when you do I’m going to laugh. You can skateboard to the hospital.”

    It’s absurd to believe the father would really laugh or not drive his unconscious son to the hospital; what he’s doing is emphasizing his point through callousness: if you make the bad choices that I warned you about, then don’t expect me to care when you experience the obvious and predictable consequences.

  8. #8 Zeno
    April 2, 2006

    Yes, John Marley, it’s the same Forrest M. Mims III who wrote for Radio Shack. He contributed some columns to Scientific American‘s “Amateur Scientist” column, but the magazine declined to make him a regular columnist because the editors didn’t think hiring a creationist was consistent with its mission to promote science. Mims apparently remains disgruntled.

  9. #9 Interrobang
    April 2, 2006

    Pianka may also halfway be expecting to die in a pandemic, which can change your outlook on things. Over on Serenity’s blog, people were accusing Serenity of thinking that he or she would be in the 10% of those who survive, which I think is not only an ad hominem but kind of jumping to conclusions. I’ve been through this; I’ve been following HPH5N1 for years now, and if it does go pandemic, I’m dead. Pianka might have come to the same conclusion long ago…

  10. #10 Jim Lund
    April 2, 2006

    That’s the plot of Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life. I kid you not. The evil genius scientist plots to kill mankind with the plague from Pandora’s Box. A couple hundred thousand chosen will be sold the antidote.

    What will creationists think of next, sharks with frikkin laser beams?

  11. #11 Bro. Bartleby
    April 2, 2006

    Oh darn, just as Bro. PZ had me hoodwinked into thinking all scientist as just plain old decent folk, just perhaps a bit more intelligent than all others, but certainly not dangerous and scary like those religious folk who see design in everything, except perhaps a Frank Gehry building.

  12. #12 BrassyDel
    April 3, 2006

    Hey, I think I played this Story Arc in City of Heroes awhile back. You know, with the evil doctor Vahzilok?

    *ahem*

    Anyways, I didn’t hear the talk but I read that “article” and the Serenity blog about it. Now, it seems like the suggestion is more along the lines of we’re overpopulated, yada yada, and it is likely that we’ll be wiped out by a virus and that it would be good because we have too many people to sustain ourselves. When Serenity goes on to talk about medicine that reminds me of some concerns I’ve thought about myself. The whole “breeding ourselves into deficiency” thing. Would I not want that technology and medicine if I had a child that needed it? Of course I would. That’s different then wondering if it’s good for us as a species and thinking about it is not the same as actually preaching it.

    Which is the point: many of the posters on Serenity’s blog were implying that she specifically wanted people who were alive because of advanced medicine to just drop dead and that she advocated the murder of 5 billion people. That’s a jump and it’s reactionary. From the readings I’m leaning towards the disgruntled conclusion.

  13. #13 Hank Fox
    April 3, 2006

    I fully expect billions of people to die, and in our lifetimes (or at least in the near future, assuming we’re some of the ones whose lives are ended early).

    But instead of some disease as the cause, it will be …

    Tyrannosaurs in F-14s!!

  14. #14 Zeno
    April 3, 2006

    Tyrannosaurs in F-14s? Ha! With those little arms? I don’t think so!

  15. #15 BC
    April 3, 2006

    The issues as I see them are this:
    Did Pianka advocate the deaths of billions of people for ecological reasons? As far as I can tell, Pianka did not advocate it, and I would guess that Mims is wrong in assuming this. However, it seems that Pianka would be pleased by such an outcome and thinks it is overdue. (Which is rather scary in itself.) It’s one thing to say that humans have overpopulated the earth and that we need to change our SUV-driving consumerist ways (Group #1). It’s another to say that you would be pleased to see a human population crash and that mass death would be a positive thing (Group #2). And it’s yet another to advocate proactively working towards that extermination (Group #3). Group #1 is relatively docile and unthreatening. Group #2 is scary and somewhat docile, but could serve as inspiration for the really scary group – Group #3. As humans gain more and more control over our ability to understand and create viruses (like the Polio virus that was synthesized a few years ago), Group #3 becomes more and more scary.

    It seems that Mims is wrong in saying that Pianka is in Group #3. Rather, he seems to be in Group #2. Let’s not get sidetracked pointing out Mims hyperbole on this point. Pianka is still in Group #2, which is still scary — especially in light of the possibility that he will inspire some biologist to join Group #3 (which is similar to the “Twelve Monkeys” scenario).

    The other thing that gets me about Pianka’s comments is that he seems to think that a population crash would do something benefitial to human culture. As far as I see it, a catastrophe outlined by Painka would do huge harm to human culture. In times of crisis and uncertainty, people turn to religion and superstition. I think mass death would widely be seen as punishment for human wickedness. All of this would strengthen the influence of religious fundamentalists – the Pat Robertsons, Jerry Falwells, Fred Phelps, and Islamic mullahs of the world. Further, the deaths of so many people would shut-down research and development because it would force people into a survival mode. This would tie humankind to fossil fuels in a major way. Research and development is a function of population size and wealth. This is why third world countries are producing no new technologies – they are consuming oil, but don’t have the wealth to create a research and development sector. The collapse of civilization would make the whole world resemble the third world — it would devastate new technology research far more than our oil consumption — exactly the opposite of what we need. It seems that mass death would be a catastophe on all fronts.

    I should also point out that most developed nations are roughly around replacement fertility rates. Virtually all of europe has slightly negative population growth. Russia is in the negative. Japan is deeply in the negative. The US is only in the positive because Hispanics and Mormons in Utah; both blacks and whites in the US are at or slightly below 2 children per person (i.e. stable population growth). It’s the third world where all the population growth happens. Pianka should acknowledge that humans are reaching stable population growth rates (now if only we could put the brakes on the third world).

    I think people should stop concentrating *exclusively* on Mims hyperbole (which warrants complaint) and also deal with Pianka’s views.

  16. #16 Rey
    April 3, 2006

    Ah yes, sort of like the Ward Churchill thing. Said that the 9/11 attacks were the chickens coming homw to roost, and people didn’t like that, so they accused him of saying that 9/11 was a good thing and we deserved it.

    Why does this never happen to Christian doomsayers? You know, them that say the Rapture is coming? “You guys WANT the Apocalypse!” “This just in, President Bush wants billions to die. Film at eleven.”

  17. #17 Tim Lambert
    April 3, 2006

    Oddly enough, I just posted on someone who bleives there is an occult conspiracy to reduce the population of the world to 500 million.

  18. #18 jc.
    April 3, 2006

    I know nothing about the people you are talking about but I do know that in europe many of the ecological parties, “Greens”, are a strange conglomeration of nature “friendly” groups. Among the quite legitimate and reasonable concerned people and groups can be found national socialist nature romantics and hardcore militant animal rights vegan types where the idea that a very large amount of of the “unnatural” & “parasitic” human race must be eliminated and the survivors must forced into a nature friendly rugged society of simplicity and ecological harmony with a controled birth rate (a kind of ecological Pol Pot paradise) is seen as a perfectly reasonable concept. Of course the Green parties try to keep these people and their ideas pretty low profile.
    I second the complaint about phrases like “nature will strike back”. I used to hate the group in my landscaping school that used to twitter on and on about how “wise” nature was especially if left to “it´s” own devices without interfernce by those stupid ugly “unatural” human race (which did not include the wise twitterers, who were usually of a middle class education and economic situation), jesus these were people who were going to make GARDENS, how natural is that?!
    Sorry, what I mean is that of course “nature” doesn´t give a shit if the planet earth is smoking lifeless cinder or a flourishing green garden of eden, but humans should and do.

  19. #19 natural cynic
    April 3, 2006

    Is it only a short distance from could to should?

    The decimation (too mild a word since decimation only fefers to 1 in 10) of the human race was chronicled in one of the early classics (~1948) of SciFi Earth Abides by George Stewart. The book is a chronicle of what happens after a virus wipes out 99+% of humanity, seen through the eyes of an academic ecologist. A very haunting read

  20. #20 Torbjörn Larsson
    April 3, 2006

    From Elsberry’s links, Mims seems to have problems to analyse some real time situations (the SciAm ‘firing’) and can’t accept corrections, while Pianka is a concerned scientist: “With human populations burgeoning and pressures on space and other limited resources intensifying, we need all the biological knowledge that we can possibly get. Ecological understanding is particularly vital.”

    But I can see that he, with glee or not, would prefer the quick, “fair” and massive killer airborne Ebola would be over HIV. It’s rather cute old stuff, it reminds me of accounts of the cynical population debate climate in the 80’s.

  21. #21 Torbjörn Larsson
    April 3, 2006

    Uhh. I think it was the 80’s. 70’s perhaps?

  22. #22 Ranson
    April 3, 2006

    This was also the plot of a Tom Clancy novel. “Rainbow Six”, I think?

  23. #23 CousinoMacul
    April 3, 2006

    “Tyrannosaurs in F-14s? Ha! With those little arms? I don’t think so!”

    But as long as they can think in Russian, they should be able to fly MIGs.

  24. #24 Moody
    April 3, 2006

    I for one shall welcome our new Tyrannosaur Overlords.

  25. #25 Ian H Spedding
    April 3, 2006

    If Pianka actually believes that decimating the human population would be a good thing then I can think of another word for him that rhymes with his name.

    Allowing that we are depleting the planet’s resources at an unsustainable rate, to welcome the death of billions as an acceptable solution is both crass and crude.

    The worst thing about it is that it hands PR ammunition to the forces of antiscience that they will welcome with open arms – as we can see from Dembski’s reaction.

    Even if it’s not an accurate account of Pianka’s views, scientists need to distance themselves from this reported position pretty sharpish if they are smart.

  26. #26 Cheeto
    April 3, 2006

    “If Pianka actually believes that decimating the human population would be a good thing then I can think of another word for him that rhymes with his name.”

    Uuhh…Bianka?

    Anyway, a plague that killed 90% of the population would put us back farther than 3rd world. All services we take for granted would stop – oil production, electricity, food production. The secondary wave of disease from the bodies would probably eliminate another 90+% of the remaining population. It would be impossible for 90% of the population to die rapidly and not eliminate all but a few of the remaining humans.

    Now weather or not that would be better for the planet – well, who cares? If I and all my relatives are dead – then I don’t care what happens to the planet, my genes would already be gone.

    And the idea that people who would have died 300 years ago are now able to be saved is a good thing. That people are able to write that it is a bad thing, only indicates that those people have not thought to deeply about the topic, or else that they are sadly lacking in empathy.

  27. #27 Mike Nilsen
    April 3, 2006

    Gee, I read dozens of Forrest Mims electronics books and articles when I was younger. I didn’t realize that he was a whacko. Should I burn my old copy of ‘Engineer’s Notebook’?

  28. #28 LM Wanderer
    April 3, 2006

    natural cynic said: “The decimation (too mild a word since decimation only fefers to 1 in 10) of the human race was chronicled in one of the early classics (~1948) of SciFi Earth Abides by George Stewart. The book is a chronicle of what happens after a virus wipes out 99+% of humanity, seen through the eyes of an academic ecologist. A very haunting read”

    A haunting read indeed. One of the best SciFi books I have read and one that I recommend every chance I get. The language is a bit dated but the story is not. Thanks for mentioning it.

    LM Wanderer

  29. #29 KC
    April 3, 2006

    Fear not, fellow citizens! Brave Patriot Bill Dembski has fearlessly reported Pianka to the Department of Homeland Security:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/984

    “As soon as this is posted, I’m going to have a chat with the Department of Homeland Security. [Called them — They are aware of it; it will be interesting to see if they do anything about it.]”

  30. #30 Tiger Spot
    April 3, 2006

    I should point out, since I’ve gotten some e-mail about it, that I liked Dr. Pianka’s class and don’t think his ideas are offensive or wrong. I don’t think a pandemic with that kind of death toll is as likely as he does, especially in the very near term, and he does tend to present ideas in the most confrontational way he can, but he’s right that if we don’t get the population down ourselves then it will crash naturally eventually.

    Crashing naturally is a very bad thing, and we should try really hard to make it not happen. The best way to do that is to keep the population down to reasonable levels. That doesn’t mean killing anybody off, but it does mean reproducing at less than replacement rate. Personally, I tend to be pretty optimistic, so I think that improving the standard of living for the poorest people in the world will be quite sufficient; people tend to have fewer kids as their standard of living improves.

  31. #31 thwaite
    April 3, 2006

    Another sci-fi book with a half-credible scenario for an eco-population doomsday isn’t so literary as Stewart’s excellent EARTH ABIDES, but is still provocative: NATURE’S END, Streiber & Kunetka, 1986. But in this one humanity takes action: faced with overpopulation and ecological disasters, an international political movement emerges, the “DePopulationists”. Their program is simple: on a given day, all of humanity will pop a pill, and one-third of them will be fatal. The novel alternates between vivid descriptions of the ecological catastrophes (Denver’s air-pollution crisis, the burning of the Amazon and of LA’s new suburbs, etc) and a plot in which the heroes attempt to create a computer model of the De-populationist leader’s psychology, such models when animated and published having become the preferred method of public denouncement for politicians (could be better than blogs, I suppose, if psychology were up to it). The novel’s ruminations about the collective psychological impact of humanity’s partial suicide are equally speculative.

    Unfortunately these authors seem to have gone off the deep end since writing this – UFO’s, etc. Salvation from the stars …

  32. #32 Chris
    April 3, 2006

    I’ve never understood the double standard whereby the actions and artifacts of other species are “natural” and the actions and artifacts of humans are “unnatural”.

    Beavers build dams in order to modify the flow of waterways in a way that benefits the beavers. Humans build dams in order to modify the flow of waterways in a way that benefits the humans.

    Robins build nests to provide themselves and their offspring with safer places to live. Humans build houses to provide themselves and their offspring with safer places to live.

    Wolves kill and eat other animals for their nutritional value. Humans kill and eat other animals for their nutritional value.

    Et cetera. Will someone please explain why one of each of these pairs of actions is “natural” and the other is not? It seems to me to be a holdover of pre-scientific thought: not only essentialism, but also the view that humans are fundamentally different from all other species. This is just wrong, and has been proved wrong, so why is it still used as a basis for this type of specious distinction?

  33. #33 NelC
    April 3, 2006

    What happens after there’s a big plague that decimates a population? The survivors celebrate their survival and have lots of sex to replace the missing. Aside from the moral considerations, a super-plague is likely to have the opposite effect to the one imagined by the doomsters.

  34. #34 Molly, NYC
    April 3, 2006

    He contributed some columns to Scientific American’s “Amateur Scientist” column, but the magazine declined to make him a regular columnist because the editors didn’t think hiring a creationist was consistent with its mission to promote science.

    The current Sci Am staff are probably thanking the 1990 staff as I type.

  35. #35 NatureSelectedMe
    April 3, 2006

    Gee, I read dozens of Forrest Mims electronics books and articles when I was younger. I didn’t realize that he was a whacko. Should I burn my old copy of ‘Engineer’s Notebook’?
    Look Mike, PZ writes wonderful science posts but just ask him what he thinks of the president, or the Iraq war. He gets very… deranged. But that doesn’t detract from the science. Look at what Kurt Vonnegut is saying lately but I still love his earlier books.

  36. #36 Bill, Menlo Park
    April 3, 2006

    Attacks on Mims do not clarify the positions that Pianka expressed.

    From Pianka’s class descriptions and his own web pages, it appears that Pianka thinks: all life forms are of equal value, humans cause more harm than good, that the Earth would be better off with far fewer humans, that an evolved Ebola that was fatal to humans and easily spread is a likely candidate for the kill-off.

    The question is was Pianka saying “Our population is too large, we must get control of it before we are destroyed by disease,” to “Our population is too large, we must kill off 90% of the people to make the Earth a better place.” ?

    For most people the first position is not too controversial, but the second crosses the line to evil.

  37. #37 Adrian, Los Angeles
    April 3, 2006

    IHMO Pianka is doing more than hoping that there is a pandemic that wipes out 90% of humanity… he is promoting and advocating it. Even if it is all wishful thinking on his part.. this is a lazy approach to solving the earth’s problems even if it is seemingly effective in the short-term.

    But here is the kicker.. does he really beleive that the remaining %10 would not rebuild itself to the same level and with the same problems we have now? Has history not proven over and over again that it repeats itself and makes the same mistakes?

    Besides all that what effect will billions of dead human bodies have on the evolution of various species?? I don’t think he has thought this all the way through.

  38. #38 Elizabeth
    April 3, 2006

    While I don’t support Mims’ leap from “Pianka’s wishes” to “Pianka’s plots,” I do find it unscientific and inappropriate for an honoree of a scientific body to take glee in the thought of wiping out 90% of humanity through whatever means. And there hasn’t been much commentary on Pianka’s alleged support of China’s one-child policy (which is a clear violation of human rights), which should also garner him censure.

    Pianka is an ass. So may Mims be, but this time he got some of it right. Pianka is in no way deserving of honor or admiration.

  39. #39 Ron Sullivan
    April 3, 2006

    Gee, of the people we’re talking about, e.g. BC ‘s three enumerated groups, and the universe of others,who is actually, currently not only advocating but enacting policies that kill people, particularly those for whom medical intervention is impossible (generally because of money)?

    And of course there’s the more rhetorical question again: If this Pianka guy should be reported to DHS for his predictions, why hasn’t Wotsisname reported Pat Robertson?

  40. #40 Steve J.
    April 3, 2006

    There are, of course, cranks who do think it would be a good idea to kill billions.

    Hm, posters at Little Green Footballs?

  41. #41 sara
    April 3, 2006

    You realize that Eric Pianka is going to be the Ward Churchill of scientists?

    If these kind of academics didn’t exist, the right wing would make them up (and they do, using the insinuatory plural).

  42. #42 jaimito
    April 4, 2006

    I was expecting someone like Pianka since I read Gore Vidal´s “Kalki”. In his ignorance, or responsability, Vidal uses Yersinia pestis to wipe out humanity. In the plot, the scheme backfires and the “survivors” die off too.
    Since there is a very strong anti-humanity movement out there, and engineering pathogens can be done in the garage, it seems inevitable that Pianka’s ideas will be tried at field level. I dont know if casting light and publicity on Pianka-like people does not increase the danger.

  43. #43 Torbjörn Larsson
    April 4, 2006

    “Will someone please explain why one of each of these pairs of actions is “natural” and the other is not? It seems to me to be a holdover of pre-scientific thought: not only essentialism, but also the view that humans are fundamentally different from all other species. This is just wrong, and has been proved wrong, so why is it still used as a basis for this type of specious distinction?”

    That is an interesting question. I think there is a third option. Humans aren’t fundamentally but qualitatively different. That is, it would be quite another loss if humans goes extinct, since our qualitatively different culture would go too. It’s a comparison between a nonexistent to small culture (chimps culture, for example) to a really grand and intricate one, which has developed for millions of years.

    But I wouldn’t take that argument to say that 1 human species is equivalent in ‘worth’ to x other species. How would such a comparison work?

    I prefer to think of it as each species is fundamentally as individual as much as each human is. So I mourn every species loss on this principle, even though I know that there will eventually be new births too. (And when there is economical, genetical and ecological values too, and probably thresholds of no return for major ecologies. But that’s another discussion.)

  44. #44 Chris Clarke
    April 4, 2006

    Now weather or not that would be better for the planet – well, who cares? If I and all my relatives are dead – then I don’t care what happens to the planet, my genes would already be gone.

    By that logic, why should those of us who are not closely related to you give a flying fuck what you think?

  45. #45 Niles
    April 4, 2006

    I don’t know Pianka. I don’t know Mims. but it sounds like the former was trying to scare an audience of ‘science amateurs’. I had 3 intro science professors in college who all did something like this on the last day of class, spinning a doomsday scenario with a little bit of culpability and without handholding the audience.

    I thought I was clever for being in favor of china’s one-child policy when I was 12.

    Anyway, my point is that blaming Pianka for these ideas getting passed onto whackos is foolish. He didn’t invent them. If anything, Mims is doing more in their favor by making them seem like the opposite of fundamentalist dewy-eyed soft-focus unsubstantiated morals (and thus, reasonable).

  46. #46 Whatever
    April 4, 2006

    Mim’s should stop watching movies like ’12 Monkeys’ and ‘Shaun of the Dead’ if he can’t disassociate movie plots from fiction.

  47. #47 rightwingprof
    April 4, 2006

    He’s clearly a wackjob. Anybody who believes this chicken little nonsense about overpopulation is a wackjob, since there is no evidence to support it.

    So you’re saying that this wackjob is a reliable source, while Mims is not, solely because Mims is a creationist?

    Go back to school and take logic 101.

  48. #48 Torbjörn Larsson
    April 4, 2006

    “there is no evidence to support it.”

    We have plenty of evidence for worldwide plagues, and that overpopulation and poverty are increasing risks.

    “So you’re saying that this wackjob is a reliable source, while Mims is not, solely because Mims is a creationist?”

    This is your projection of what is said.

    Mims got on record for mistranslating events because SciAm wouldn’t hire him as being creationist, ie antiscience, which he refered to as “firing”. His creationism was circumstantial.

    It also seems Mims and his creationist fellows are hounding Pianka since he is an evolutionist. Already Malthus (pre-evolution) covered what Pianka is saying.

  49. #49 rightwingprof
    February 20, 2007

    “Forrest Mims is not a credible source.”

    Neither is anyone who describes himself as a “godless liberal.”

  50. #50 I dare not say
    January 2, 2008

    I don’t think I am a nutjob, yet I agree with the
    extreme version of Pianka’s idea, that it would be
    a good thing if 90% of the population were to die
    in a global plague. I am assuming as obvious that
    the quality of life would be better in a world with
    fewer than a billion people. Here are some of my
    reasons:

    1. 100% of the population will die anyway, just years later.
    2. There will be more resources, and less scarcity,
    for the surviving population.
    3. The alternative way to get to a reduced population
    is by a one-child policy. But various groups object,
    and allowing them to have more children allows
    them to dominate the world.
    4. Our grandchildren and great-grandchildren would be
    grateful.

  51. #51 Sammie Ferrill
    January 1, 2010

    W r grp f vlntrs nd strtng nw nttv n cmmnty. Yr blg prvdd s vlbl nfrmtn t wrk n.Y hv dn mrvlls jb!

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.