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Several members of the Texas Academy of Sciences (TAS) have reportedly been receiving harassing, in some cases threatening, e-mail or phone calls over the last 24 hours, ostensibly because of the gross misunderstanding and/or intentional smearing of University of Texas professor Eric Pianka.

[Link] A University of Texas biology professor has been targeted by talk radio, bloggers and vitriolic e-mails -- including a death threat -- after a published report that he advocated death for most of the population as a means of saving the Earth.

To briefly review, DR Pianka of the University of Texas has been giving lectures on population dynamics and speculating on possible agents of pandemic. Some person or persons, at least one of which has since had a change of heart, picked up on this and somehow came to the erroneous conclusion that Pianka was advocating or actively engaged in engineering deadly pathogens to kill up to 90 percent of the world's population. One even bragged that he had reported Pianka to the Department of Homeland Security as a possible terrorist threat.  

Now, several members of the TAS have told me they've been getting strange and threatening e-mails. One member said s/he had received 'death threat e-mails' and that it was getting 'way out of hand'. Here's a short excerpt of one of the more polite e-mails received by a TAS member to give you an idea of the tone and mindset:

[PZ has the full text] While Heinrich Himmler's "final solution" was limited to exterminating the Jews, Dr. Eric R. Pianka promotes a FINAL SOLUTION for 90% of earth's population. In accepting the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist award, Heir Pianka was interrupted with applause and received a standing ovation.

Unleashing the Ebola virus on humanity, as publicly advocated by reptilian advocate Dr. Pianka, would result in billions of excruciating deaths and rotting corpses in the streets.  Does such a position increase the esteem of the Texas Academy of Science?

Bear in mind: These alleged e-mails are not directed at Dr. Pianka, but to other scientists who have little relation to his work. I don't know exactly what's going on here but I'll take an educated guess: Some conservative Internet muses jumped online and blogged or sent out highly misleading reports about Pianka full of alarmist rhetoric to a bunch of people who were unable or unwilling to perform the most basic fact checking, some of whom in turn sent on intimidating mail to TAS members. If so I have some advice for them: The instigators and participants had better get on that cyber grapevine awful damn quick and issue a cease fire and a correction.

At least that way they'll be able to show good faith when and if they get a knock at the door from the FBI. Because these e-mails are being reported to the authorities; if any death threats went across a state line that might make it a Federal crime; depending on the details or what ends up happening, this episode could even qualify for prosecution as terrorism or conspiracy to commit same.

Update [10:01 AM EDT]: Hat Tip Nick Matzke at The Panda's Thumb. Pianka makes a statement:

[KXAN-- Austin] "I got a really great death threat," Pianka said. ... This is not over. Pianka said he'll be on two cable talk shows Tuesday including MSNBC to try and clear his name.
In addition several biology professors from central Texas have mentioned to me directly that Pianka is, if anything, on the conservative side. These nitwits may have smeared one of their own.

[2:15 PM EDT] Kossack Grand Moff Texan adds his own take as well.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:35 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Compassionate (43+ / 0-)

    conservatism at it's best eh? And these alleged insitagtors had better not just scrub the site or delete the e mail. They'd better issue a retraction and/or say they were wrong.

    Read UTI, your free thought forum

    by DarkSyde on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:37:20 AM PDT

    •  Do you think (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dazed in pa

      anne coulter is on the list of instigators?

      Seeing as how she's advocated similar actions in the not so distant past, I'm wondering if she might be in on this one, too.

      "You can have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, or democracy, but you cannot have both." Louis Brandeis - former US Supreme Court Justice

      by Angie in WA State on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:44:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My prediction (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jett, chimpy, dazed in pa

      Any investigation of said death threats will be quietly shelved.  No prosecutions will ever result.

      It's not like these wingnut goons are eco-terrorists after all.

      "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

      by Steven D on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:06:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  exactly (7+ / 0-)

        FBI can't afford email accounts for it's agents, and what little resources they do have are concentrated on cloak and dagger opps against the quaker vegans for peace.  Whoever is behind this skates free for doing the administrations dirty work.

        NOTE: This communication may be audited by the United States Government without your knowledge or permission. If you don't like it, vote.

        by jalbert on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:14:56 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  My (9+ / 0-)

        prediction. You may be right. I don't know how serious the authorities will take it. But my understanding at this time is that at least one of the recipients of an alleged death threat works in a federal building for the fed government, and that individual has already been interviewed at length by security personnel.

        Read UTI, your free thought forum

        by DarkSyde on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:23:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Isn't it now a crime (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The Gryffin, eru, Capn Guts

          to send annoying or threatening emails?  

          Pennacchio for Pennsylvania

          by PAprogressive on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:46:42 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  My thoughts exactly. (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            PAprogressive, The Gryffin, eru
            I figured someone might have beat me to the post, so I just searched for "annoy."

            Of course the death threats will land them in jail, but maybe the milder e-mails this can be the first prosecutions under the electronic annoyance law.

            (I still hope it gets struck down on challenge, but it would be sweet to have it first tried on some annoying wingnuts.)

        •  It's a crime anyway (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          saraswati, DarkSyde, eru

          18 U.S.C. § 844(e).

          "Whoever, through the use of the mail, telephone, telegraph, or other instrument of interstate or foreign commerce, or in or affecting interstate or foreign commerce, willfully makes any threat ... to kill, injure, or intimidate any individual" shall be "imprisoned for not more than 10 years."

          The internet is clearly an "instrument of interstate ... commerce" and threats made by internet are punishable by up to 10 years in prison, just like threats by mail or telephone.  

          All scientific groups and agencies in the country should demand a thorough investigation by the FBI.  

        •  A Quick Google Search (0+ / 0-)

          for Eric Pianka Ebola brought this blog to the fore, with outraged comments appended: LINK.

          It's possible that no one purposely instigated the death threat letter writing campaign; the commenters at this site seem perversely capable of dreaming it up on their own. At any rate, they sure slammed this blogger. I don't have the text of the Pianka talk the blogger refers to, so I can't say whether she misconstrued his thesis or intent, but her assertion that he is literally hoping for 90% of the world's population to be wiped out sounds like hyperbole to me. Too many people these days can't distinguish a carefully crafted metaphor from a loosely worded literal message. Just toying with an idea can put any academic under attack these days, especially with the likes of David Horowitz and Peter Collier.

          "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

          by martyc35 on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:36:20 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  They'd better do more than interview victim (0+ / 0-)

          Unless they're really going to investigate the threats, they're just wasting the victim's time. Another wing of the same goon squad, in effect.

          If scientists cannot be protected in Texas, science itself will leave Texas. Unfortunately, the rest of us are trying to compete in a global economy where science and engineering are more of a competitive advantage than raw materials.

          This is a serious competition, and we can't afford to have these losers tied to our feet while we wage it.

          Science and Engineering, Knowledge and its expert application, are more critical to our success than ever. This is no time to melt down the forge to make a few last swords, or sell the farm for one last feast. It's the time to build and grow. With or without Texas.

          Why is there a Confederate Flag flying in Afghanistan?

          by chimpy on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 09:34:58 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, unfortunately! (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jett, saraswati, Steven D, DarkSyde, eru

        I was part of a scientific proposal to resume very limited-scale commercial fishing activities here in the Florida Straits.  Needless to say, this wasn't well received by some within the local recreational fishing community.  Some of the captains of the commercial vessels agreeing to participate began to get phone calls and e-mails (yes, believe it or not) threatening not only them and their boats, but their families as well.  These were all turned over to the FBI, but -- two years later -- still nothing has been done with those files.

        There's probably a better chance of the Dems taking both houses of Congress than the FBI doing anything about these calls/letters.  If there's one thing we've seen again and again in this Administration, it's the unwillingness of its agents to investigate its own political supporters.

    •  This attack is part of a larger picture (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kimberly Stone

      The right is now waging a concerted, organized war on higher education kicked off by Horowitz's new book, The Professors. They can't hope to create the mindless society that they yearn for if there are places people can still go and get the truth. Professors are now dehumanized targets for the assault troops of the Republican "base."

      Read more about it here:

      Free Exchange on Campus

      Incompetent, dishonest, and corrupt--it chants well

      by bently on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:26:22 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I know one site that jumped on that bandwagon. (6+ / 0-)

    but I doubt a retraction is forthcoming.

    Phillybits - A Showcase Of Political News And Thought

    by Stand Strong on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:41:04 AM PDT

    •  Ecologists live in a world of wounds-A. Leopold (6+ / 0-)

      Pianka is one of the founders of modern ecology (he's also my academic grandfather).  The more we speak out, the more of this we should expect, unfortunately.

      Never, never, never, never--in nothing, great or small, large or petty--never give in, except to convictions of honour and good sense.

      by pheidole on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:26:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  drudge ran with it (9+ / 0-)

      That's where I saw the first headlines - and he was all over the "Professor advocates exterminating humanity" byline. Once something is up on his site, there's no telling how many idiots will read it and believe it.

      Tools like Drudge think this is all just a game - at what point do they realize that all of the lying they do in order to influence politics actually hurts real people?

      More importantly, do they care that it hurts real people?

      •  uh, he is a wing-nut (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ladlergo

        As long as it doesn't hurt wealthy white christian males then it doesn't matter.

      •  Pianka disavows Mims claims he advocated genocide (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eru

        "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

        by Steven D on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:53:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  From the story about Pianka (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Aurostion, martyc35, Lashe, lazybum

          Some are accusing a UT scientist of advocating genocide to control the world's population.

          Does it sound crazy?

          The professor whose ideas are under scrutiny says it's not just crazy, it's not true.

          UT Ecology Professor Dr. Eric Pianka does not want everyone on Earth dead.

          "I don't bear any ill will towards anybody," Pianka said.

          But many bear ill will towards this soft spoken University of Texas ecologist.

          "I got a really great death threat," Pianka said.

          He's getting death threats such as threatening the slaughter of his family after recent speeches pushing for population control.

          "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," Pianka said.

          Pianka says he would never advocate genocide or extermination like some suggest he does.

          "I've got two granddaughters, man. I'm putting money in a college fund for my granddaughters. I'm worried about them," Pianka said.

          He said he believes criticism of his theory about an inevitable plague on mankind comes from a rival jealous about his distinguished scientist award from the Texas Academy of Science.

          "He's an avowed enemy, and he's made this very clear that he's going to get me and take me down," Pianka said.

          Mims says he will appear on MsNBC (story didn't say which show) to attempt to clear his name tonight.

          "I just had the basic view of the American public -- it can't be that bad out there." Marine Travis Williams after 11 members of his squad were killed.

          by Steven D on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:55:56 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Wow (14+ / 0-)

    In some ways, we live in a great age, because in answer to the question "how stupid can human beings get?" we have never had so many examples to point to.

  •  some folks will believe just about (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    loudGizmo, eru, Lashe

    anything, won't they? and a certain number of the folks will take it upon themselves show their ass to the world by making threats to folks who probably have no earthly idea as to what they are talking about.

    want to know who some of those 30 percenters are? i think we just found some.

    "after the Rapture, we get all their shit"

    check out An Angry Yank in Kent. now mostly legible!

    by lipris on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:48:24 AM PDT

  •  the internet giveth and the internet taketh away (11+ / 0-)

    notice the speed with which the rubes can be incited into irrational action.

    But the broader question is, when did the level of IQ in the US drop so low that one actually believes reflexively that a Professor who warns about a 90% potential mortality as inevitable is confused with one who wants 90% mortality?

    I can only conclude that people are, in general, idiots.

    •  They've (19+ / 0-)

      been conditioned to think that scientists are evil and that biology/evolutionary scientists are leading some kind of fuckedip conspiracy. This is one of many problems with misinforming your electorate: You can end up generating wackos who do something tragic.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:52:41 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It doesn't take much 'educaton' (8+ / 0-)

        to help people to be stupid.

        The Stanford-Binet curve is not reflective of our current society, which is coming to be ruled by ignorance, and the more ignorant a society, the more superstitious - thus the resurgence of the radical right.

        We are - rather quickly - becoming a nation of superstitious janitors, and nothing more.

        Like Calvin said to Hobbs:

        I would move, but everywhere there is to move is on this planet.

        •  Question... (0+ / 0-)

          If it is your contention that "the radical right" is dependent on people being "stupid" AND that the number of "stupid" people is increasing in your estimation, is this not evidence to support the conclusion that the "radical right" is gaining ground?

          Or are you open to to the alternative interpretation, namely that a large proportion of these "stupid" people are actually Democrats?

        •  Unfair to Janitors (0+ / 0-)

          Janitors work hard for a living.  It's middle-manager types who fill the exurbs and the non-denominational "Christian Lite" megachurches.  Fight the real enemy.

      •  And Pianka may make a little trouble for himself (0+ / 0-)

        just with the way he expresses himself.

        "I got a really great death threat," Pianka said.
        emphasis mine

        Did he have to say great?  Was he smiling when he said great? Can I claim that he approves of the death threat because he called it great?

        If it QUACKs like a duck ...

        by Dale Read on Thu Apr 06, 2006 at 08:49:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not sure if IQ can actually drop (0+ / 0-)

      isn't IQ set up on a bell curve where 100 is either the mean or median (sorry, I don't know, I'm way on the left side of the chart in either case)?

      Therefore, although the absolute levels of intelligence are dropping alarmingly, I would think that, by definition, IQ's per se are not falling.

      •  IQ (0+ / 0-)

        is normed to 100, but I don't remember which population has been set as a norm - probably American college students, and probably some time ago.  Doesn't mean that other populations aren't above or below 100.  

        Take for instance the average IQ of the American Taliban.  I have sincere doubts as to their average getting anywhere near 100.

        I haven't heard anything about intelligence dropping, just education quality/levels.  IQ is basically genetic, typically with some basic education thrown in.

        9/11 didn't change the Constitution!

        by Prof Dave on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:01:27 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  For info (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jett, Prof Dave, Lashe

          The following was picked up from here

          In his study of IQ tests scores for different populations over the past sixty years, James R. Flynn discovered that IQ scores increased from one generation to the next for all of the countries for which data existed (Flynn, 1994). This interesting phenomenon has been called "the Flynn Effect". Flynn believes that the increase is actually an increase in abstract problem solving rather than intelligence. Otherwise, someone who scored among the best 10% a hundred years ago, would today be among the 5% weakest. In short, someone (maybe our great grandfathers!) who would be considered very bright a century ago, should now be considered a moron!

          As Flynn and other researchers found, this is probably due to environmental factors when taking a test such as:

          Education

          Societal changes

          Better health and nutrition

          Parenting

          Complexity of life

      •  IQ tests are re-normed (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jett, FlipYrWhig, Roadbed Guy, Lashe

        regularly, and the tests are revised to reflect current realities.  A good example was in a well-regarded IQ test that showed pictures and asked "What's missing?"  Lots of kids started missing the one in which the cord from the handset to the telephone base was missing, because many kids had only been exposed to cell or cordless phones.  Therefore, that item was removed.

        I sometimes participate in the field work to collect new norms, and respected test developers are quite careful about their sample to make sure it's representative of the population to be tested.  Therefore you'll be asked to find a 3 year old Asian-
        American male with high-school educated parents, and a 10-year-old Hispanic female with 2 college-educated parents, etc.  There are probably some American college students in the norm sample, but they are not representative of the whole.  It is true that the mean IQ is set to 100 on a standard bell curve, with a standard deviation of 15, so anyone with an IQ between 85 - 115 is considered within the normal range.

        IQ tests aren't perfect but psychometry is a real science and the tests do provide good information on certain questions.  (Using IQ as a proxy for human worth is about as useful as using net worth.)

      •  Long Division (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        eru

        IQ is simply one's "mental age" (hence "intelligence") divided (hence "quotient") by one's chronological age. If you're exactly twice as smart as the average intelligence person your age, your IQ is 200 (theirs is defined as 100).

        The trick is defining "mental age". The most scientific way is to survey a significant fraction of every human that age with the same large test in which not even the highest scorer scores 100%. Since that's unfeasible, there are other methods.

        But no matter what the calibration method, if you learn nothing for a year, but even one person your age learns even "one thing", your IQ goes down - because the one braniac has raised the value of mental age, and you haven't kept up. Practically speaking, if you just don't learn as quickly as the rest of people your age, your IQ goes down.

        Of course, none of this jibes with my experience. Most people honestly think they're IQ 120+, and seem to be IQ 80-.

        "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

        by DocGonzo on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:32:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  its hard to get students to talk in class (5+ / 0-)

    A University of Texas biology professor has been targeted by talk radio, bloggers and vitriolic e-mails . . .  he advocated death for most of the population as a means of saving the Earth.

    Professors sometimes have to really work hard to get students paying attention and willing to debate an issue in class.  Looks like this one found a way.  I hope he has tenure.

     

  •  Shared antagonism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patricia Taylor, Spathiphyllum
    is a really convenient organizing strategy because it costs the participants nothing to participate.  The only damage occurs to the person against whom the antagonism is aimed.
    If that person or object of antagonism isn't even real, (like maybe bin Laden), then there's no harm at all.  Moreover, since nothing has to be achieved or attained, shared antagonism can go on virtually for ever.  Enmity without end.

    Forget "GOD, GUNS, GAYS, GIRLS & GETS"

    by hannah on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:53:26 AM PDT

  •  Why warn the instigators? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, Lashe, sirenoftitan

    I say let them intimidate up to the point where the FBI comes knocking at their door and handcuffs them for making death threats.  A few less idiots running the streets isn't such a bad thing is it?

    -7.38, -5.74 This is your world. These are your people. You can live for yourself today, or help build tomorrow for everyone.

    by DisNoir36 on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 04:58:53 AM PDT

  •  Wingers hate possibilities (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, lazybum

    If they don't get a certain answer, they go batshit loopy because they are incapable of doing their own research.

    We will appoint as...officials, only men that know the law of the realm and are minded to keep it well. -- Magna Carta, #46 (-6.25, -7.18)

    by DH from MD on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:00:51 AM PDT

  •  Rank Hypocrisy (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kimberly Stone, Debby, Crowdog

    the policies they support by voting for republicans pretty much mean death for humanity anyway.

    I'm kind of stalling for time here...They told me what to say. George W Bush, 03-21-2006 10:00 EST Press Conference

    by Tamifah on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:01:47 AM PDT

  •  It's been done (5+ / 0-)

    Gore Vidal wrote the book in 1978, and Penguin has issued a new edition:

    Kalki

    It's a terrific read, with a splendid ending.

    DS: Please discuss the inefficiency of Ebola as an extermination agent that results from its amazing efficiency.  Influenza has killed and will kill infinitely more of us that Ebola just because it allows most of its victims to recover.

    Interesting diary.

    When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

    by Clem Yeobright on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:03:07 AM PDT

    •  Ebola can only be transmitted (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Lashe

      by eating an infected animal or by body fluids (diarrhea, vomiting, and bleeding).  It is not an airborne illness.

      It is relatively easy to avoid an infected persons body fluids, but not their coughs or sneezes.  Flu, of course, is airborne.

      •  Pianka refers to an airborne Ebola (0+ / 0-)

        but . . . same difference: it can't sustain itself.

        When your only tool is a hammer, every problem looks like a nail Baez

        by Clem Yeobright on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:25:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yes (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jett, bustacap, Lashe, lazybum

        it's utterly silly.  Ebola killed 170 people in a small city in Zaire in 1995, I think?   Hell, malaria apparently kills about 3000 people a day in African nations, most of them children.  If you want to talk bodily fluids tranmission, HIV/AIDS related illnesses have killed over 20 million people worldwide).  

        But that's old news, doesn't make a good Hollywood thriller, ho hum.  

        And yes, flu viruses hang in the air, stick to keyboards and phones and grocery cart handles and railings for as much as a few hours...

        Sheltered people, with the help of the money-driven mass media, latch their fear fantasies onto these spectacular rare diseases, and ignore much more likely threats. Ultimately though, we're all a lot more likely to die in a car accident.

        "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

        by sarac on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:59:17 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  spectacular deaths (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FlipYrWhig, Lashe, lazybum

          Ebola is a gross way to die and kills at least 90% of those infected and most educated people have heard of it - it makes a great bogeyman. I don't think Pianka or anyone else who talks about some hypothetical airborne Ebola variant is necessarily talking about Ebola specifically - it's more like a stereotype for a mysterious and highly deadly disease that comes out of the wild and wreaks havoc on civilization. Maybe Ebola will mutate and become airborne (or more importantly, will slow WAY down so people don't die before they have a chance to infect anyone else) or maybe some other new disease will come along or maybe the flu will go all 1918 on us again - in the meantime talking about "DEADLY EBOLA!!!" gets attention and hits some deep seated fears pretty effectively I think.  

          Howard Dean has a posse (buy my t-shirts so I can afford YearlyKos!)

          by Jett on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 09:00:19 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maybe (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Jett, Lashe, Ladlergo

            "some other new disease will come along."

            We have ecological disasters in CA: "sudden oak death" was the most recent, but there have been many more, some bacteria, some viruses, some fungi, some fires, and some insects. These constitute real dangers for man as well as the plants that are attacked. But what gets Californians all het up, more than the real threats? West Nile or Lyme Disease. Exotic and rare, compared to TB or flu, but oh, so fashionable.  

            "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

            by martyc35 on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 09:56:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Interesting statistic... (0+ / 0-)

          malaria apparently kills about 3000 people a day in African nations, most of them children

          This appears to exceed the number of US Soldiers killed in Iraq in the past 3 years.  Kinda puts things into perspective.

  •  Discovery Institute... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jett, javelina, DarkSyde, Lashe, lazybum, procera

    Seems to have gotten the story out.  Here is a news google search:

    News Google - Pianka Ebola

    The first grouping of results shows 22 sites (at this time).  I haven't explored them all, but that would probably explain the hate mail.

    "Everyone wishes to have truth on his side, but not everyone wishes to be on the side of truth" - Richard Whately

    by unbound on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:04:41 AM PDT

    •  Here is another site that has piled on (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jett, Lashe, lazybum

      over the "issue"

      Heavy on inflammatory hearsay, speculation, and innuendo, short on clear facts.

      31 March 2006

      Recently citizen scientist Forrest Mims told me about a speech he heard at the Texas Academy of Science during which the speaker, a world-renowned ecologist, advocated for the extermination of 90 percent of the human species in a most horrible and painful manner. Apparently at the speaker's direction, the speech was not video taped by the Academy and so Forrest's may be the only record of what was said. Forrest's account of what he witnessed chilled my soul. Astonishingly, Forrest reports that many of the Academy members present gave the speaker a standing ovation. To date, the Academy has not moved to sanction the speaker or distance itself from the speaker's remarks.

      This internet attack on some isolated statements, short on context, reportedly made by a harmless academic herpetologist from UT reminds me of the 'little eichmann' tempest in a teapot which erupting around the U Colorado(?) social studies lecturer a while back.

      Purpose? Who knows? Maybe a manufactured controversy to distract from the contemporaneous and much more weighty debate over the astounding Mearsheimer-Walt paper  "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy." ?

      •  Seems to me (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greeseyparrot, Lashe

        the "purpose" is a desperate attempt to smear and defame anything smacking of liberalism and science is one area regarded (wrongly) as a great bastion of it.

        As Darksyde said further down in comments, it's very possible that this scientists whose words are being twisted is himself a conservative.

        Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Well, come on, doesn't anybody know!?!?

        by Erik the Red on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:59:14 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  'Citizen' Scientist? (0+ / 0-)

        Is this to differentiate Mr. Mims from "immigrant" scientists? (Read, of course, as "illegal immigrant".)

        Or does it mean distinct from those "egghead" scientists who are always going on about facts and research and experiments and stuff?

        This is actually a very well done hit piece.

        But wasn't "Forest Mims" a writer for Popular Electronics magazine back in the 1970's?

        "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

        by Mad Dog Rackham on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:03:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Most expert swift-boating comes from TX, (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Lashe

          after all, and this well-choreographed attack of the UT herpetologist seems to be another example.

          The timing of the attack is interesting also. Herpetologist's talk (probably given as some sort of an entertaining 'after-dinner' type talk) was given during the 109th Annual Meeting of the TX Acad of Sci *March 2-4*.

          The slick RW Internet attack was launched by this amateur scientist website   *~March 31*. Why did they wait until then?

        •  Mims is no scientist, (0+ / 0-)

          and while he may technically be an American citizen, in my book he's no American either.

          •  It's just weird... (0+ / 0-)

            He is the guy from Popular Electronics and countless similar articles. I knew the name as this kind of inventive guy with a knack for giving simple explanations.

            And to then find out he's a nut who got fired from Scientific American for his creationist rants, and promotes this kind of nonsense, well, it's just weird.

            Seems like he's a smart guy, but what a total waste. There has to be a personal element in there somewhere.

            "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

            by Mad Dog Rackham on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 01:39:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Radical Anti-Abortion Tactics (14+ / 0-)

    That's what this reads like, to me.

    They are trying to intimidate scientists and teachers into silence and inaction.

    Very thuggish.

  •  Would it be appropriate (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina, bustacap, DarkSyde, Lashe

    to email Dr. Pianka expressing my sorrow that this is happening to him and his colleagues, and to offer support? Perhaps I'll make a small donation to UT as well.

    How freeing it must be to walk through this world heeding neither conscience nor soul. - rude pundit

    by pattyp on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:11:59 AM PDT

  •  Here's where I first saw it. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pb, javelina, Lashe

    In Citizen Scentist. I think this is where it started.

    Meeting Doctor Doom

    Forrest M. Mims III
    Copyright 2006 by Forrest M. Mims III.

     There is always something special about science meetings. The 109th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science at Lamar University in Beaumont on 3-5 March 2006 was especially exciting for me, because a student and his professor presented the results of a DNA study I suggested to them last year. How fulfilling to see the baldcypress ( Taxodium distichum ) leaves we collected last summer and my tree ring photographs transformed into a first class scientific presentation that's nearly ready to submit to a scientific journal (Brian Iken and Dr. Deanna McCullough, "Bald Cypress of the Texas Hill Country: Taxonomically Unique?" 109th Meeting of the Texas Academy of Science Program and Abstracts [ PDF ], Poster P59, p. 84, 2006).

    But there was a gravely disturbing side to that otherwise scientifically significant meeting, for I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola. The speech was given by Dr. Eric R. Pianka (Fig. 1), the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.

    Something curious occurred a minute before Pianka began speaking. An official of the Academy approached a video camera operator at the front of the auditorium and engaged him in animated conversation. The camera operator did not look pleased as he pointed the lens of the big camera to the ceiling and slowly walked away.

    Forrest M. Mims III is Chairman of the Environmental Science Section of the Texas Academy of Science, and the editor of The Citizen Scientist.  He and his science are featured online at www.forrestmims.org  and www.sunandsky.org.

    Citizen Scientist

  •  This is becoming way too (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    javelina, greeseyparrot, Lashe, lazybum

    common.  UK Guardian covers the progressive witchhunt in academia.  Silence in class

  •  the population problem (9+ / 0-)

    is huge, and it's amazing how even among liberals, it's barely discussed.
    Just the other day on this site, there was a posting about SUV's and someone said "Well, my brother has 7 kids, what's he supposed to drive?"
    exactly.
    And not a single person pointed out that his very act of having 7 kids was environmentally and socially irresponsible.  The SUV is just the exclamation point to the fuck you to society.
    The earth can't support 6 billion people.  I sure won't be able to support 10 billion.

    •  Be fair (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rockhound, pedantmann, Lashe

      Admittedly, 7 kids is a lot. Perhaps it was environmentally and socially irresponsible.

      However, if it was 1 set of septuplets, then it was only one pregnancy, which is not irresponsible. Just some bad luck (or good luck, depending on your persuasion)

      •  I'll go 1-step further (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        rockhound

        What if I'm rich, and I adopt 7+ refugee babies from Darfur whose parents were killed in the genocide. Is that environmentally and socially irresponsible?

      •  it's not about the number of pregnancies (5+ / 0-)

        it's about the resources that they will require over their lifetime.
        we all treat it like it's fine as long as they can pay, but we are all paying for them.  We're subsidizing their lives, and ensuring through wars that we have all the resources to have all the kids we want, and for them to have huge SUV's, and gorge themselves until they are too fat to walk.

        •  So all americans should stop having children? (0+ / 0-)

          We will definitely win elections with that platform.

          •  jesus (5+ / 0-)

            is that your logic - black or white?
            did I say that?  No where did I say anything like that.
            You are being a contrarian, just to be an ass.

            •  look at your arguement (0+ / 0-)

              it's about the resources that they will require over their lifetime.
              we all treat it like it's fine as long as they can pay, but we are all paying for them.  We're subsidizing their lives, and ensuring through wars that we have all the resources to have all the kids we want, and for them to have huge SUV's, and gorge themselves until they are too fat to walk.

              This says nothing about the number of children, you are complaining that you will need to pay for them, subsidize them, and go to war for oil for them

              Why would you not need to pay for one fat suv driving american child?

              Do you only pay for schools and go to war for oil if people have more than one kid, or is two, or three?

              •  and... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Tom P

                I didn't even troll you saying I was being contrarian just to be an ass

                ;)

                A little spirited debate is good for the body and mind.

                Btw, I have two children, wife wanted a third but I declined, due to financial reasons.  My wife drives an odyssey, and I drive a civic.

                I am doing my best to raise my kids with my values, and I personally think that that would be good for our world, or at least not bad.

              •  if (4+ / 1-)
                Recommended by:
                Roastbeef, Timoteo, zinger99, pedantmann
                Hidden by:
                Jiffylush

                you don't see how 1(x) is less than 2(x), or 3(x) or 7(x)
                then we have nothing to discuss.

                •  pulling an oreilly eh? (0+ / 0-)

                  You have no valid arguement so you insult me?

                  Nice.

                  It appeared to me that you were complaining about the habits of americans, as ultra-consumers, and since that was your arguement then it would make sense that you would be against making more ultra-consumers.

                  •  ' So all americans should stop having children?' (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    pedantmann

                    That's (!?) your idea of a valid argument? Your comments were becoming ridiculous, c 2005 became annoyed, his/her response, completely understandable. I find your responding as if your absurd comment were somehow not to blame for his or her reaction, appallingly disingenuous.

                    •  he is complaining about american consumerism (0+ / 0-)

                      it's about the resources that they will require over their lifetime.
                      we all treat it like it's fine as long as they can pay, but we are all paying for them.  We're subsidizing their lives, and ensuring through wars that we have all the resources to have all the kids we want, and for them to have huge SUV's, and gorge themselves until they are too fat to walk.

                      The statement has no mention of the 'quantity' of children. The problem he is referring to is the amount that they are consuming.  Using that logic the answer is to stop having American children.

                    •  No, but it would be nice... (0+ / 0-)

                      If people stuck to replacement children only, which means two kids per family.  I'd also like to see the tax structure changed so that people are rewarded for waiting to have families or for not having children at all.

                      Fringe is the new black. - Me

                      by chillindame on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 02:12:13 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

          •  Bill McKibben (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Kimberly Stone, chillindame

            Argues in his book Maybe One exactly this: that American ciizens consume the earth's resources so disproportionately that they (we?) should limit ourselves to having just one child.  So your rhetorical question is neither snark or trolling.

          •  How about having only one? (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chillindame

            Or none, depending on your circumstances.

            Quality is better than quantity, n'est-ce pas?

            New Orleans WILL rebuild because she is more than the sum of her architecture.

            by NOLAWitch on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:56:24 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  That's the whole reason... (0+ / 0-)

            Why even liberals don't discuss this issue in a plitical context; it is a one way ticket to a one term-tenure.  Sadly it is also THE most pressing issue of the past forty years, IMHO.  Global climate change is just a subset of this issue. We have had many chances to get the global population under control and we have blown all of them.  And protecting votes is the main reason why.  Our sheer numbers will doom us as a species eventually, we cannot technologically pull ourselves out of this hole I fear.  

            Fringe is the new black. - Me

            by chillindame on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 02:10:43 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

      •  Do you know how rare that is? (0+ / 0-)

        One pregnancy resulting in septuplets smells like fertility treatments.  That's irresponsible and selfish too.

        New Orleans WILL rebuild because she is more than the sum of her architecture.

        by NOLAWitch on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:55:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah (0+ / 0-)

          It's very rare for more than three babies to survive.  There just isn't room or resources in there, let alone out here.

          But to be fair to those undergoing fertility treatments, the science is getting better and don't tend to set anyone up for more than twins or triplets these days anyway.  Two friends of mine had fertility treatments, and single births (one stopped with one child, the other stopped with two).

          "Virginia Woolf's idea of a room of one's own has never been the place for middle- and working-class women. We work with interruptions." - Ananya Chatterjea

          by sarac on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:06:32 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  Liberals believe in personal freedom too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pb, Aurostion

      Just because we are leftist doesn't mean we think everything China does is brilliant.

      Seven kids is too many in my opinion, but it is just that, my opinion.

      What is more irresponsible is a couple of dinks in a 4000 sq ft home with an suv and a sports car.

      The guy w/ the seven kids isn't asking you to help pay for his suv, so lighten up.

      ps - dinker = dual income no kids

      •  no, but he's asking (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        chillindame, zinger99

        for me to pay for his childrens' schools, all of their community support they need.
        Not to mention that the economic and ecological footprint of each of those kids is enormous in comparison to some third world country.
        There is personal freedom and there is selfishness.  7 kids is selfish.

        •  What is more selfish... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pb, ogre

          8 people in an SUV or one person in an SUV?

          •  The need for a goddamned SUV is more selfish. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pedantmann

            One family should not take up so much space that it needs a monstrous vehicle to haul it around.  You're not referring to eight grown people in an SUV, you're referring to one or two adults and the brood they've irresponsibly decided to spawn.

            New Orleans WILL rebuild because she is more than the sum of her architecture.

            by NOLAWitch on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:01:03 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  exactly... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Jett, pedantmann

          and think of all the tax benefits with every child you have. My solution is you get the benefit for one child (maybe 2), but after that you start getting penalized. I'd be willing to pay SOME for other children's needs (wife and I have no children) because children are the future, but I shouldn't have to pay as much. Makes perfect sense to me.

          •  ok with me... (0+ / 0-)

            I have no problem with not giving tax breaks to people with tons of children, anyone who needs the 1500 dollars per child should not be having that many.

          •  Nice short-sighted idea... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            pb

            But in the end, in the large, that penalizes kids.

            Which has ramifications for society down the line.

            "I desire what is good. Therefore, everyone who does not agree with me is a traitor." King George III

            by ogre on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:45:29 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Wait a minute. (0+ / 0-)

            Children don't ask to be brought into this world.

            Therefore,penalization of their parents who have to support them is rather crappy, isn't it?

            "Words are, of course, the most potent drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling.

            by Kimberly Stone on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:58:51 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There needs to be some way... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              chillindame

              to curb overpopulation, or at least discourage it. We're not above the laws of nature, try as we may. (well, maybe the Bush Administration is, but that's another story).
              It's not prohibiting people from having children, it's only a method of making them think harder about having that third, fourth, fifth, etc. child.
              Responsibility and accountability.

      •  Oh, I don't know about that. (0+ / 0-)

        If the DINKs don't spawn at all, they won't leave that legacy of bloated consumption to be furthered when they die.  They will die and they will have only been responsible for their own bloated consumption which dies with them.

        New Orleans WILL rebuild because she is more than the sum of her architecture.

        by NOLAWitch on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:59:10 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  yup (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Timoteo, chillindame, martyc35

          My partner and I aren't breeding. We own a ~1250 square foot house and a single car that gets good gas mileage. We don't need anything more than that. It seems like most couples breed without ever really thinking about it - they have kids because it's what they're "supposed to do" - and then they spend the next 20 years totally miserable raising a little monster into a full grown asshole who starts the cycle over again. We're looking forward to being the eccentric aunt and uncle :)

          Howard Dean has a posse (buy my t-shirts so I can afford YearlyKos!)

          by Jett on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 09:12:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  In some respects, this debate is moot. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      javelina

      Overpopulation is not a problem in America, Canada, and Europe, which together comprise, I suspect, where the vast majority of people who read DailyKos actually live.  Indeed, birth rates that are below replacement level are a serious problem in Europe, and birth rates among native-born Americans are also stagnant, IIRC.  Only immigration, and the fact that immigrants tend to have more children, is keeping First World populations from declining.

      The place where overpopulation is a huge problem, and which will likely account for the vast majority of population growth over the next decades -- and also where a pandemic would likely break out and be the most devastating -- is the Third World.  So those of you advocating controls on population growth should keep in mind that you're effectively calling for women in Africa, Asia, and Latin America -- as opposed to women in Iowa or England -- to stop having children.

      And on the whole, that may be a sensible policy.  I absolutely am not calling you racists.  But I have little trouble imagining Hannity and O'Reilly screaming that rich white liberals in Cambridge want to force poor black women in Rwanda to have abortions.  And when they do start with that that crap, you'll need a good response.

      •  This is a long-standing debate (0+ / 0-)

        Luckily, when you empower women with education, the ability to hold jobs and the ability to plan their families, their desire to have a large number of children declines drastically.  

        So there is a liberal way to control population growth and allow people free will.

        •  Who says (0+ / 0-)

          ...they (meaning women) desired it in the first place?  I'm sure some do, but most are being forced to bear that many children by overbearing husbands.

          The beauty of education is that it gives you choice.  Women with education can choose to say no to their husbands, because their husbands know that they can walk away and fend for themselves.

          Education breeds equality.

      •  What he said! (0+ / 0-)

        Once the social structure people live in changes from one where children are like free field hands, to one where you actually have to pay for them, birth rates drop precipitously. The reason for this is pretty obvious; people are sensible for the most part, and if kids are expensive, well, there seem to be more entertaining ways to spend money.

        I've always figured that you can take the four kids my wife and I have, and average them with the zero kids my sister-in-law and her husband have, and we've got two each-- less than it'll take to maintain the population, in the long run. Quick, somebody de-sterilize the wife so we can have another! No, wait...

      •  Bullcrap... (0+ / 0-)

        Over population has completely destroyed my way of life in Maryland.  There isn't a bit of open land left in Maryland short of the far ends Maryland that isn't selling for 100K an acre.  You try working and saving your whole life to have a little farm and knowing that you will never get there because it's all been fucking cemented over.  Maryland has been ruined by too many people, just fucking ruined.  It used to be the most beautiful place to live and now I can't understand why anyone moves here, it is so depressing.  I feel for the kids who are growing up now and have no idea what has been lost in just 40 short years.

        Fringe is the new black. - Me

        by chillindame on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 02:18:23 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  no. (0+ / 0-)

        it's not just a problem in the developing world.
        THe problem is that we are all competing for the same resources, and americans and western europeans use far more resources than their developing world siblings.
        Plus, they have the wealth to ensure that they get the resources.
        It is a global problem.  How many kids in bangledesh could live on the resources of one american?

  •  terrorism terrorism terrorism (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    pkjnew, procera

    Go crazy ... run in circles

    "Prosecution as terrorism or conspiracy to commit same." Do yourself a favor DS and don't mimic the administrations game of fear here.  With that threat you went from tring to inform to implying Kos'ers had something to do with it.

    It's probably some wingers.  pray...write threatening letter ... pray write threatening letter.  It's the cycle of life.

    Maybe they go ticked off at:
    Pianka's Ten Commandments: (funny)
    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/...

    American Engineer :== loser!

    by jnmorgan on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:15:47 AM PDT

    •  I stand (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rockhound, Spathiphyllum

      by  my statement. Under existing law, and especially if someone is hurt, this could qualify as terrorism and/or conspiracy.

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:19:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  As do I ... it is not productive n/t (0+ / 0-)

        American Engineer :== loser!

        by jnmorgan on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:22:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rockhound, Spathiphyllum

          is accurate and the idea is already being discussed.

          Read UTI, your free thought forum

          by DarkSyde on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:24:52 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I disagree (0+ / 0-)

          I've run several message boards and mailing lists and people go off half-cocked all the time, forgetting that their rants still exist once they hit 'send.'  By many, email is seen as catharsis or casual commentary rather than formal communication.

          I've seen seemingly rational people make comments along the lines of 'you'd better watch yourself' or 'you deserve to die a horrible, friendless death' and 'you'd better hope I don't ever run into you or you'll get hurt.'

          These are people speaking in the heat of the moment and the distance and anonymity of the internet makes them less guarded.  It isn't only the fact they feel hidden, but that -- despite knowing better -- people feel that communication on the internet is less 'real' and lends itself to hyperbole and role-playing without true consequences.

          I think a reminder that consequences do exist, and that the terrorism 'protections' make it much easier to screw with people isn't at all out of place.

    •  Implying Kos'ers had something to do with it? (0+ / 0-)

      I'm not sure how DarkSyde implied that there. Could you please explain. Thanks.

  •  LOLOLOL (5+ / 0-)
    RIGHT!!! The FBI will give a shit about threats against a professor by conservatives?

    LOLOLOL

    Great morning laugh!!!!!!

    Whackos get their info thru the Christian right. We'll bring them out to vote against something and make sure the public lets the whole thing slip past them.

    by chemsmith on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:16:28 AM PDT

    •  Furthermore.. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pedantmann, Spathiphyllum, Lashe
      lemme all edumacate you about the real world. See, when a 24 year old right-wing fanatical nutjob makes a web site where he "exposes" left-wing "radical" professors at UCLA, guess what happens? Detectives show up at the door of one of the PROFESSORS to question HIM, not the 24 year old. Read for yourselves: http://www.guardian.co.uk/...

      I'm so fucking glad I got out of teaching. Last night I had to hear my mom (Limbaugh lover) blame teachers for half of the problems in America.

      Whackos get their info thru the Christian right. We'll bring them out to vote against something and make sure the public lets the whole thing slip past them.

      by chemsmith on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:27:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  somewhere in a horrible future... (3+ / 0-)

    "Why are we all dying?!?"
    "Because you morons scared off all the people who knew about this virus attacking us and are too scared to come back and help."
    These people are idiots.

    GOP = Armageddon Politics, pass it around.

    by RElland on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:21:37 AM PDT

    •  Bingo (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jett, Jon Meltzer, bree, pedantmann, Lashe
      I'm a cancer researcher. In the early 90's I lived in Europe for 2 years. If I ever ever get a decent chance, I'm OUT OF THIS FUCKING IMMORAL COUNTRY and I will go back to Europe, or even elsewhere, say India, to live out the rest of my life. (Can't go now..raising a daughter....but maybe some day.)

      Face it, America is over. It has too many problems to properly reform itself. Way way way too many. I'll fight anyway, and try, for my daughter, but I have basically no hope.

      Whackos get their info thru the Christian right. We'll bring them out to vote against something and make sure the public lets the whole thing slip past them.

      by chemsmith on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:29:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  chemsmith their is a 'work in progress' that (0+ / 0-)

        holds opportunities of great change for this nation.

        Coming to your town soon! The Social Security Adminstartion Electric and Power Company. "Omen Tuffy" 1918-1992

        by generic on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:38:49 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Haven't you heard? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        pedantmann

        According to Rick Santorum Europe is a dying culture!  No budding theocracies means they're doomed.

        Pennacchio for Pennsylvania

        by PAprogressive on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:39:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Emigration of scientists (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Jett, Jon Meltzer, bree, DarkSyde

        It's interesting that you're a cancer researcher -- I'm a biophysicist myself, and I'm also keeping my eyes peeled for positions in Europe.  I know anecdotally of several other scientists who are leaving or planning to leave.  Europe seems to be the preferred destination, although some are also looking in Canada and Australia.

        If it becomes a trend, the reason will be obvious:  America today, from the man in the street to the highest official levels, is more inimical to science than it has ever been.  And federal research funding is beginning to reflect that (budgets are flat or down, with glamorous sci-fi projects like Bush's Mars mission crowding out things with genuine scientific merit).  

        How ironic that this is happening in a country founded by scientists and children of the Enlightenment like Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.  How long before the NSF starts awarding grants for the study of intelligent design while denying them for the study of evolution or the Big Bang?

        •  keep your citizenship if you go.. (0+ / 0-)

          and vote for change!

        •  Canada sounds good too.. (0+ / 0-)
          ...if I want to deal with that cold weather. Australia would be good but it's SO far away.

          And you're right. I think for a variety of reasons the historical trend of brilliant thinkers coming to America is about to reverse. They will be leaving. (No, I'm not brilliant, but I'll be following the brilliant ones.)

          Whackos get their info thru the Christian right. We'll bring them out to vote against something and make sure the public lets the whole thing slip past them.

          by chemsmith on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 10:57:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Rush was on this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    chillindame

    yesterday.  I was tired, so I listened to Rush while traveling in upstate New York.

    It is refreshing to hear the whole truth!  We need to stay on target here and talk about possible pandemics and die offs, and the hisotric certainty that they will occur.  We know nearly all civilizations have gone through ecological disasters that helped them collapse.

    We, who know history, should not repeat it.  If we let the nuts side track us, we will repeat!

    •  Perhaps, if the going gets tough and we except (0+ / 0-)

      the future vision of what is actually a cure for the United States then things can and could serve right into our lifestyles of health and fitness by reducing waste through using excercise to carry out our functions.

      Colleges students can only travel by electric vehiches during days of classes. School sports travel curtailed and scheduled games reduced. Idling engines in drive thru lines is forbidden in most instances. Grocery delievey by electic vehichle. These are some beginning ponts but this isn't behind Door #1, #2 or #3 anymore to real caring adults!

      Coming to your town soon! The Social Security Adminstartion Electric and Power Company. "Omen Tuffy" 1918-1992

      by generic on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:46:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Influenza (0+ / 0-)

      Given what we know about the history of influenza outbreaks, we're long overdue for another pandemic.

      I'm not one to advocate overreacting, but I'm considering what I should do if there's another one within my lifetime.

  •  The bandwagon we're on scares me (7+ / 0-)

    It scares me that we are jumping to conclusions based on very little evidence -- and yet we're criticizing others for doing the same.

    Death threat e-mails are definitely out of line whatever Pianka said. I'm not arguing about that. What I find a problem is that we don't really know what he said. We do not have a transcript of the lecture. We have Forrest Mims' account. It looks biased, and his background is problematic. But as far as I know, we have nothing else to look at (other than a few comments from people who took Pianka's class but were not present at the lecture). As far as I know, we don't even have any other eyewitness accounts of the talk, let alone recordings.

    One reader here (sciguy) said he'd be speaking with Pianka privately. I think that kind of fact-finding is definitely in order.

    Must read: MLKJ's "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." It will surprise you.

    by AlanF on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:34:32 AM PDT

  •  'Reptilian' (0+ / 0-)

    That's conspiracy talk for a David Icke/Matrix personality.  These "reptilian" humanoids basically are here to end the world, they look like us, act like us, but are really aliens sent to destroy us.  Kind of a conspiracy theory/New Age combo.

    And don't ask why I would know this sort of thing.  

    http://www.publiceye.org/...

    •  Reptilian (0+ / 0-)

      Dr. Pianka is associated with the word "reptilian" because his area of expertise is reptilian evolution.  Unfortunately, it is not the evolution of pandemic disease.  A talk on that subject by him, though no doubt well-informed, is not the talk of an expert.  I imagine this will be held against him by those who wish to attack him.

      •  Actually, he is an expert on population growth (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        trykindness
        Yes he studies lizards.  But one of his main areas of expertise is in the mathematics of population growth (or reduction).  No doubt, this was the actual topic of his lecture.

        "All right, then, I'll go to hell." Huck Finn

        by karin on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:57:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  uh oh (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lilorphant

      In college I had a roomate who smoked too much pot and started to get into that garbage. After about 6 months he started to become majorly tweaked out and thought that the Reptilians controlled the Jews who controlled the Capitalists and they were all out to get him personally and in fact me and one of the other roomates were agents of the conspiracy against him. Scary stuff!

      Howard Dean has a posse (buy my t-shirts so I can afford YearlyKos!)

      by Jett on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 09:24:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Prof. Planka - dangerous advocate of bio-terror? (0+ / 0-)

    I read "Meeting Doctor Doom" by Forrest M. Mims II on http://www.sas.org/

    This is what set alarm bells ringing:

    "His (Professor Pianka's) favorite candidate for eliminating 90 percent of the world's population is airborne Ebola ( Ebola Reston ), because it is both highly lethal and it kills in days, instead of years."

    I am sure there are passionate ecologists who happen to be scientists, and have access and abilities to carry out bio-terroism. I think the question is whether Professor Pianka's speech, as reported, instigates or encourages such actions. How biased is Mims?

  •  A Time for Fear (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lashe, procera

    One even bragged that he had reported Pianka to the Department of Homeland Security as a possible terrorist threat.  

    According the Amazon review of his book Varanoid Lizards of the World here is a picture of  Dr. Eric R. Pianka aka "The Lizard Man".

    I wonder if that full beard means he is a Moslem?  Time to be very afraid.

  •  Nutbars Going To Jail? Woo-hoo! (0+ / 0-)

    First Tom DeLay, now this!

    I hope everybody is getting a really good look at what happens when you allow Republicans to run around without adult supervision.

  •  Don't anybody start a rumor that... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rabel, Lashe, trykindness

    ...that Pianka is a Republican (for heaven's sakes, though, he might just be that).  The wingnuts will stop issuing death threats against him, and start hoarding ebola cultures to get the rest of us.  

  •  woo hoo (0+ / 0-)

    dark ages here we come. can't wait!
    bookburnings and hangings...

    I dream of cherry pies, candy bars, and chocolate chip cookies. We used to microwave, now we just eat nuts and berries.

    by sadair on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:53:04 AM PDT

  •  It's not a death threat if a Pub sends it (0+ / 0-)

    It's just a concerned citizen coming 'round.

    Kind of like the people with the pickup trucks, Confederate flags, torches, turpentine crosses...chains...bedsheets...

    We're all Helens now. :)

    by cskendrick on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:56:49 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for your diary! (0+ / 0-)

    I just received this email about the scientist- and was able to respond with your diary. We have crazies on the left too who are susceptible to Rovian distractions.
    The accuser, Mims, mentioned above, was on (surprise!) Alex Jones

    It's time to be a Democrat!

    by annefrank on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 05:58:55 AM PDT

  •  Twelve Monkeys Scenario. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap

    People far outside the creepysphere are hearing rumors that 'some professor out in Texas wants to kill 90% of the population'.

    Even when corrected, the possibility that some radical Gaiaist group might do Mother Earth a favor by dispersing a hantavirus or two is wigging people out.

    People are afraid the world, generically.

    That there are too many people. That somebody wants to do something about it.

    That the Earth is overheating,. That somebody wants to do something about that.

    That AIDS might end up killing us all. That somebody wants to do something about that.

    That we're experiencing a mass extinction event. That somebody wants to do something about that.

    That our freedoms are being stripped from us, one by one. That somebody wants to do something about that.

    That Bush might start World War III. That somebody wants to do something about that.

    It's astonishing what people are homing their hate on; both the problems and those who seek to solve them.

    It's high tide for xenophobes of all stripes. Springtime for Skittish.

    We're all Helens now. :)

    by cskendrick on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:09:37 AM PDT

  •  What's the prob, anyway? (0+ / 0-)
    With 90% of the population swept off the globe, there'll be a lot less heavy lifting for Jaysus when he comes to pick up his Select, eh what?
  •  Welcome to the United States: home of sociopathy (10+ / 0-)

    You know something? I can't read this and Kos' down-thread diary about idiots who want to go kill YearlyKossers as if they were bigoted white sheriffs killing niggers and yankee hebes back in the day without remarking on how American culture has so degraded that sociopathy is now a virtue.

    Of course I used those words. They are execrable, but they are accurate. 40 years is not really so long, and while we had come a long way, recently I think we've slid very far back indeed.

    Right-wing talk, as we all know, is about hate and tribalism. That they align themelves with "christians" would be laughable, if the pathology were not so severe. The "in-your-face" ugliness that is now ubiquitous in American culture is part of it too. And like it or not, the flipside of "American exceptionalism" is American acceptance of a government and secret service that has carried out killings and supported atrocities around the world in the name of keeping America NOT SAFE, but POWERFUL.

    America behaves as a sociopath among the nations of the world--is it really so surprising that sociopathic behaviour is being encouraged amongst the citizenry?

    It's not the culture, stupid, it's the stupid culture.

    I wish I had words of wisdom on how we're going to turn back the tide, and, despite these comments, I think the tide is (very) slowly starting to turn. But I also think that it is an awful lot WORSE than most people believe. Heck, I try not to sweat it most of the time, because it's not possible to remain entirely "sane" while holding a heightened consciousness of it all.

    Which is, by the way, why it is so important to understand the causes of terrorism, and not merely the tactics. Another failure of American culture--believing so strongly in it's God-given infallibility that questioning America's actions is simply not done.

    Even questioning some idiot sociopath's assertion that an honoured scientist and professor is planning to wipe out the Earth's population (for what?) isn't done, despite the evident idiocy of it all. And the irony is, I thought these people were desperately awaiting "the Rapture"--I would have thought they'd be calling him for tips.

    -8.38, -4.97 "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:30:27 AM PDT

  •  I go on Hannity.com sometimes (0+ / 0-)

    and yesterday some jaggoff posted about this with a thread titled something like "The Liberal Final Solution: Kill off 90% of the world's population".

    Need I say more?

    Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Well, come on, doesn't anybody know!?!?

    by Erik the Red on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:34:53 AM PDT

    •  You (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rabel, Lashe

      know what's really funny about that? I have contacts in the academic/bio communiy in central texas and they say to the man that Pianka is one of the most conservative biologists they know of. The wingers may have flamed one of their own guys

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:47:07 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well, (0+ / 0-)

        I hope that some of them go public with that assertion so I (or at least someone else on there)can throw it back in this ignoramus' face!

        Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? Well, come on, doesn't anybody know!?!?

        by Erik the Red on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 06:53:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Hardly a new idea..... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde

    Silly guy - cold have discussed this in the context of everything from "The Earth Abides" to "Lathe of Heaven" to "12 Monkeys."

  •  Here's what I don't understand: (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jett, healing one, rabel, DarkSyde, Lashe

    Dembski reports Pianka to the Dept. of Homeland Security. It seems to me that if he were doing this to actually, y'know, make the homeland more secure, he would've done it quietly. That way the DHS and FBI could add Pianka and his students to their list of possible terrorist subversives, and monitor the situation with their covert wiretapping, etc.

    But instead Dembski trumpets the fact that he's reported Pianka to the FBI. Doesn't this boasting do a lot to reduce the FBI's hypothetical effectiveness in a  case like this?

    What other goal might Dembski have, if not to do his narc's duty in the most effective way possible?

    How about the goal of simple harrassment and threat? Not just of Eric Pianka, but of any scientists who might say something unpopular?

    Of course, the DI has hired the PR firm responsible for the swift-boating of John Kerry. Maybe this is simply part of that strategy. If you can't convince the public that the scientific materialist approach is inferior to your own ramblings, destroy the moral authority of scientists by other means.

  •  There are contradictory reports (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lashe

    and so therefore I would say Pianka has a very good shot at a slander and libel suit.

    I wish Michael Schiavo had done this; but maybe Pianka will.

    I sure as hell would.

    "It's better to realize you're a swan than to live life as a disgruntled duck."

    by Mumon on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:01:35 AM PDT

  •  It IS the real problem... (5+ / 0-)

    overpopulation.
    Nobody wants to address it, though. Instead, you've got the christians telling everyone to have babies (as many as you can).
    From what I can tell, Pianka is only stating what I would think is the obvious: ANY species that overpopulates will destroy its own habitat, and suffer a population die-off (whether it be from starvation or illness or both). duh. It happens with every other species on this planet (deer being the most visible). It's Nature's way of restoring balance.
    Until we start addressing this issue, nothing is going to get better.

  •  Thank you for clarify the Pianka (0+ / 0-)

    is on the conservative side.

    Makes a bit more sense now, the whole "ebola-is-going-to-kill-90%-of-the-population" scare-mongering didn't really pass the smell test from the get-go.

    After all, a "good" pathogen would kill its victims slowly enough to allow them to infect a bunch of other people first . . . .

  •  I think the reason people... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    trykindness

    ...find the "professor wants to kill 90% of world" idea so believable is that it says he is a Texas professor.

    "What is wanted is not the will to believe, but the wish to find out, which is the exact opposite." - Bertrand Russell

    by Mad Dog Rackham on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:12:47 AM PDT

  •  You don't need to speculate (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde, Lashe

    I don't know exactly what's going on here but I'll take an educated guess

    No, remember that this started with that damned creationist's account of the talk Pianka gave.  The creationist said that they stood up and cheered.  

    "I watched in amazement," Mims reports, "as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola (virus)."

    This is the ur-text that the little freaks are working from.  It's already gospel.  
    .

    •  I (0+ / 0-)

      had heard that over the weekend and yesterday. But I needed at least one confirmation from someone deeply involved professionally and who knew him personally. This isn't the blog to make mistakes on. You guys are too well connected and informed ;)

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:18:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  wingnuts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rabel

    they're in complete panic mode. Just flailing and attacking anything that moves... because that's all they know how to do. if they actually stopped to think and fact-check, they'd be liberals :)

  •  Yeah (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde

    In addition several biology professors from central Texas have mentioned to me directly that Pianka is, if anything, on the conservative side. These nitwits may have smeared one of their own.

    Well, you understand how they might be confused. After all, he's a professor and moreover, one who studies biology.  He probably believes in evolution for crying out loud!  It's like if you were at a conference with a snakehandling preacher.  You wouldn't expect him to be 'on the liberal side.'

    Throw the bums out!

    by Mikey on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:19:30 AM PDT

  •  ok, on a slightly different note... (0+ / 0-)

    if there is a pandemic of airborne ebola
    it would be fast, with that kill rate
    how possible would it be to hole-up?
    you see it coming, and get somewhere isolated (win for idaho servivalists?) and wait it out.  Does it require controled air supply?

    was this covered in the bird-flu wiki?

    between global climate change, potential water/oil wars, and really mean pandemics, there's sure a bull market in doom and gloom...

    •  depends (0+ / 0-)

      Ebola symptoms come on quick and hard - even if it is airborne I don't think it will spread as effectively as the common cold because people just won't have to pass it around very much before they are incapacitated. Assuming it could spread and we really did have an Ebola pandemic then I still think it would be very possible to hole-up - viruses are pretty fragile, it's not like it's going to blow in on the wind - you need to be, at the very least, in the proximity of a contagious person. So, just stay away from infected people until the outbreak burns itself out and you will be fine. No need for controlled air supplies or anything like that, just keep your distance.

      Howard Dean has a posse (buy my t-shirts so I can afford YearlyKos!)

      by Jett on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 10:15:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Blogswarms have their dark side (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DarkSyde

    On the bright side, people discuss the power of blogs, of 'community' in rallying support for one cause or another. The dark side is this kind of blogswarm that can destroy a person's career, life, family...

    This above all: to thine own self be true...-WS

    by Agathena on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 07:42:49 AM PDT

  •  A little about Forrest Mims (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ladlergo

    Mims is the one who 'tipped off the world' about Pianka.  Mims  claims to be an "amateur scientist", and his area of expertise is hobbyist electronics though he dabbles in many areas.  He used to write a column for Popular Electronics.  He also wrote for Scientific American,and now comes the killer he was not hired since he was a creationist.

    I'm not agreeing (or disagreeing) with Pianka's fears of ebola mutating into airborne forms, but does Mims even believe in mutation?

    If you want to see Mims' cv, he has a webpage at http://www.forrestmims.org/...

  •  This is why it's good to fact-check (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bustacap, pkjnew, Lashe, trykindness

    I don't think this is unique to one side of the blogosphere, although this is certainly the most egregious incident. Prior to sending angry email, bloggers should always at least check out whether or not the purported claim is true.

    I've definitely seen hyperbole around here that looks to be simply a misunderstanding of intentions. I don't think Kossacks, having fewer proclivities toward violence, would (generally) send death threats, but rudeness I can definitely see.

  •  if Pianka is on the conservative side . ... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, procera

    then I don't like his politics.

    His obituary, on the other hand, I like very much:

    http://uts.cc.utexas.edu/...

    Politics is not arithmetic. It's chemistry.

    by tamandua on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:06:51 AM PDT

  •  We're a blight on the face of the earth... (0+ / 0-)

    I couldn't help but get a little chuckle out of this diary...not to belittle death threats and idiots and such...but because I have been joking with friends for years about this subject.

    When I start ranting about how we humans can be so very bad for our own good...they all know to chime in, before I can, that, "well, we are a blight on the face of the earth, you know."

    Does everything we say figuratively have to be taken literally?  

  •  Drudge smear (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lashe

    I read a post at Avian Flu Forum:

    http://www.avianflutalk.com/...

    yesterday, of course the eunuch posting it got it from Drudge. Amazing, this from the same fucks who think the HIV pandemic is a good thing. Fucking pigs.

  •  Deaf Threats (3+ / 0-)

    I read the story at Pharyngula, including the letter from Keith Arnett to the Texas Academy of Science demanding they boot Pianka. I googled ("keith arnett" keller) until I quickly found his email address at his Texas church website. I sent the appended email to the address, but the message bounced from his email server, error "unknown user". I'd like to send it directly to Mr Arnett, but I expect I'm not the first, and perhaps not the least polite, so he's dropped his email. But I think polite, firm messages directly to the "misinformed" agitators, in our own voices as fellow Americans, do more to fix the main problem than any other action short of a messiah actually showing up and enforcing mutual niceness.

    The main problem with zombie "Conservatives" is their alienation. They're worse just in degree than echo-chamber "Liberals", so the problem is universal. The more we engage each other directly, the more the wall is torn down, the harder it is for ignorance to underwrite intolerance. Find a zombie and wake them up yourself, as nicely but firmly as you can. Who knows, they might wake you up a little, too.

    -----------------------------------------
    To: Keith Arnett <keith.arnett@charter.net>
    Subject: Pianka / TAS
    I read your letter to the Texas Academy of Science at
    http://scienceblogs.com/... . I presume, unless corrected, that the message quoted there is accurate. If so, I would like to know where you got the idea that Eric Pianka advocated for the destruction of humanity by the ebola virus? I heard a similar story, then I checked it before I believed it - as I always do any Internet rumor that I find interesting, whether positive or (especially) negative. When I looked into it, I discovered that Pianka denies any such context of the lengthy remarks he made concerning an ebola pandemic. Others with firsthand experience confirm his representation. And the rest of his career confirms that he is a scientist who analyzes such scenarios precisely to prevent them, rather than any indication he'd advocate such a catastrophe.

           Have you confirmed your version of the story with anyone reliable - an eyewitness without a motive to invent such a harmful version? Do you have any evidence, even firsthand witnesses, to confirm your belief in the version of the story you complained about to the Texas Academy of Science? If not, do you regret causing Pianka such unfounded trouble? And if you do, have you written another letter to the Academy retracting your request, and explaining your actions?
    -----------------------------------------

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:21:48 AM PDT

  •  HomeSlander Insecurity (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eru, trykindness

    Any radio show talker that lied about Pianka's speech is guilty of slander at least. I want to see the FCC prosecute them, their station and their network at least as hard as they went after Janet Jackson's tit.

    That kind of irresponsible provocation, especially when they know their audience listens uncritically and harbors people who shoot doctors on faith, must not be allowed to parasite the public airwaves to foment violence.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:40:29 AM PDT

  •  Accusations of Rascism (0+ / 0-)
    The newest attack seems to be that Pianka is a rascist. The logic is: Ebola is in Africa, so Pianka hates Africans. Impeccable logic there, huh.
  •  So what exactly are this guy's views? (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Grand Moff Texan

    From your first link we find:

    ... The newspaper's Jamie Mobley attended one of those speeches and also interviewed Forrest Mims, an amateur scientist and author who heard Pianka speak early last month before the Texas Academy of Science.

    After the newspaper's report appeared, it was circulated widely and posted on "The Drudge Report." It quickly became talk radio fodder.

    The Gazette-Enterprise quoted Pianka as saying disease "will control the scourge of humanity. We're looking forward to a huge collapse."

    Pianka said he was only trying to warn his audience that disease epidemics have happened before and will happen again if the human population growth isn't contained.

    He said he believes the Earth would be better off if the human population were smaller because fewer natural resources would be consumed and humans wouldn't continue to destroy animal habitats. But he said that doesn't mean he wants most humans to die.

    But Mims, chairman of the academy's environmental science section, told The Associated Press there was no mistaking Pianka's disdain for humans and desire for their elimination.

    "He wishes for it. He hopes for it. He laughs about it. He jokes about it," Mims said. "It's got to happen because we are the scourge of humanity."

    David Marsh, president of the Texas Academy of Science, did not return telephone and e-mail messages seeking comment. No recording or transcript of either that speech or another delivered last Friday at St. Edward's University in Austin was available for review by the AP. The Gazette-Enterprise said it reviewed a transcript of the original speech, which was provided on the condition that it not be distributed. ...

    I see that DarkSyde has not bothered to provide any references to the positions actually being advocated by Dr. Pianka.  Should I assume that his (DarkSyde's) statements above are merely assumptions or does he have something more substantive to share with us on that point?

    From the article referenced it appears the Dr. Pianka does not want his views widely distributed, otherwise why would he refuse to allow AP to make references to the transcript of the original speech?  In fact, why does he not simply come out and make the transcripts from these speeches public to clarify his position?

    On the other hand, the newspaper in question provides first hand accounts from two witnesses regarding the manner in which Dr. Pianka was expressing his views.  In the absence of anything to the contrary provided by Dr. Pianka, should we not accept the perspectives provided by two first hand witnesses?  I mean that would be good enough to use in court, right?

    From the article referenced above it is not clear exactly what Dr. Pianka actually said in these meetings, and therefore what he may or may not have advocated therein.  It is clear, however, that Dr. Pianka does not want the text of at least one of those speeches to be made public to a wider audience.  It is also clear that he is publicly distancing himself from the claims that he was actually advocating the killing of 90% of the world's population.

    One has to wonder.  If the text of his actual speeches was going to support his (current) public claims, why is he not being forthright in providing the text thereof in his own support?

    Even if he is not actually advocating the murder of 90% of the world's population, by his own admission he would be happy if are large portion of the world's population was not here.  Is that really that much better of a position to hold?

    •  Silly rabbit (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Grand Moff Texan

      All you need do is go to his personal bio page on his UT deparment web site.

    •  Reproduction rights and context, perhaps? (0+ / 0-)

      It's entirely possible that he doesn't want it distributed all over the internet and have quotes taken out of context.

      "We're looking forward to a huge collapse" can also mean "We're looking to the likelihood of the future including a huge collapse."  As he said in the interview, he has grandchildren and wants to ensure that they go to college.  Can't do that when the world's dissolved into anarchy.

      •  Just to clarify, not to criticize, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Ladlergo

        I think you meant copyright infringements and context, perhaps? In this discussion "reproduction rights" might be construed to have something to do with populating, not copying intellectual property:-). I agree with the rest of what you said; "looking forward to a huge collapse" does not necessarily mean advocating or even hoping for. In this current situation, I am reminded of the controversy stirred up in 1968 by Professor Garret Hardin's essay, "The Tragedy of the Commons:"  

        The most important aspect of necessity that we must now recognize, is the necessity of abandoning the commons in breeding. No technical solution can rescue us from the misery of overpopulation. Freedom to breed will bring ruin to all. At the moment, to avoid hard decisions many of us are tempted to propagandize for conscience and responsible parenthood. The temptation must be resisted, because an appeal to independently acting consciences selects for the disappearance of all conscience in the long run, and an increase in anxiety in the short.

        The only way we can preserve and nurture other and more precious freedoms is by relinquishing the freedom to breed, and that very soon. "Freedom is the recognition of necessity" -- and it is the role of education to reveal to all the necessity of abandoning the freedom to breed. Only so, can we put an end to this aspect of the tragedy of the commons.

        In advocating an end to the freedom to breed, Hardin's emphasis on the role of education was lost in the uproar over harsher interpretations about over-population and over-breeding. His criticism of the United Nations was also misinterpreted by many to be a plea for isolationism, when he meant that, lacking a true world government, we needed to revise the goals of the UN. In fact, educational programs introducing contraceptive methods in India and elsewhere have resulted in lowered birth rates wherever they have been given a chance, mostly because women who are educated choose not to have lots of children. Hardin's arguments in the middle of the 20th century didn't get very far, though, and Pianka's rational recognition that the problem is only getting worse in the 21st Century will no doubt, sadly, be ignored as well.

        We make our own bed, don't we?

        "That story is not worth the paper it's rotten on."--Dorothy Parker

        by martyc35 on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 11:33:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yes he did, kinda... (0+ / 0-)

      In the KXAN interview, Pianka was quoted as saying "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."

      Sounds to me that this prediction has been warped by Mims into a threat. The abuse of logic, science, and reason on the part of Repugs and Wingnuts is appalling.

      Wait for this page to be both improved and hacked (but not by me, of course, you wingers):

      http://en.wikipedia.org/...

      --UB.

    •  Pianka is going on TV tonight (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rockhound, Cake or Death, eru

      so I think we can dispense with this "what is he afraid of" crap.

      The difference between us and the ignorant filth who are spreading the hysteria is that we actually read things down, meaning we click through, use google, and, like, read and stuff?  

      I did.  I even found more on Pianka and Mims' vendetta against him.  Blogged it even.  

      Neat, huh?
      .

      •  Going on TV does not address my point. (0+ / 0-)

        Even if he does go on TV, unless he provides the text from the speeches in question for us to review whatever he says will have little bearing on the point at hand.

        I have already highlighted that he is distancing himself from the position his opponents have laid out for him.  The question is, will he simply deny everything or will he provide some proof in the form of transcripts to back up his denials.

        Without the text of the speeches in question we have no means of evaluating which side is being honest and which is not.

        I am not spreading hysteria, by the way, I am merely trying to get to the bottom of the story based on facts rather than ideological rhetoric.  The facts of the case are contained in the text of the speeched he refuses to release (or has thus far based on the information presented by the main article).

    •  VX (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rockhound

      as best as I know, the scientists who are being targeted for intimidation have next to nothing to do with Pianka or his work. That's what the article I wrote was about. I see you handily ignored that and continued on your personal vendetta against me and this site. Is it possible the ignorance and the vendetta are two sides of the same coin?

      Read UTI, your free thought forum

      by DarkSyde on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 10:02:00 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What vendetta? (0+ / 0-)

        I am asking for honest answers to honest questions, especially w.r.t. the abortion issue.  It is nothing personal, mind you.  But when you get to have a platform as large as the one provided by this site you should at least expect to be asked some hard questions and be pressed to responses.  It just comes with the territory that you have volunteered for.

        I have not been disrespectful of you (at least to any large extent) and I have provided a reasoned argument for you to respond to, or at least cz42 did before he made Armando mad.

        I keep coming back to you on the abortion point for 2 reasons:

        1. I really want to hear your answers to the positions that have been posed.
        1. By continually asking you for a response and not getting one, I am illustrating your lack of willingness to engage in the debate.

        The position laid out by cz42 is clear, self-consistent, consistent with republican values, and is based in a scientific set of criteria (i.e. no religious arguments in sight).  Debating it on these points should be right up your alley so I really don't understand why you don't want to discuss it.

  •  It's more than just politics (0+ / 0-)

    The original ccount of the lecture is from a credible source

    Here's the article making the original allegation

    http://www.sas.org/...

    And more through Citizen Scientist:

    http://www.sas.org/...

    Who is Forrest Mims III - Wikipedia

    http://en.wikipedia.org/...

    They mention the incident:

    In 2006 Mims expressed concern with the lectures of scientist Dr. Eric R. Pianka. In these lectures before the Texas Academy of Science, Mims alleges that Mr. Planka advocated genocide by means of the ebola virus to exterminate 90% of the human population. Forrest Mims was further outraged when the Texas Academy of Science awarded Pianka with a plaque naming him "2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist". No other sources have as yet confirmed Mims's story; however, see this blog entry for another view of Pianka's lecture.

    Here's his own webiste

    http://www.forrestmims.org/...

    Here is the bog website giving another view mentioned above in Wikipedia:

    http://brenmccnnll.blogspot.com/...

    A chilling story by one of my favorite SF writers is entitled THE LAST FLIGHT OF DR. AIN:

    decribing a person feeling much like the prof who infects the earth.

    And then there's TWELVE MONKEYS

    http://mtsu32.mtsu.edu:11072/...

    And

    Right wing yahoos got in on it, sure. But there is more here than politics.

    What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail? unknown

    by moon in the house of moe on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:50:02 AM PDT

  •  That would kinda be dumb (0+ / 0-)

    The earth can actually restart...and if the earth 'dies' so do we.  So killing us is just way too extreme.

    So this is who we target as terrorists.  Great.  Looks like we'll miss the suitcase nuke.

    Ugh.

    Assassin: Its worse than you know. Malcolm: It usually is. 宁静

    by TalkieToaster on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 08:51:28 AM PDT

  •  PS, I am still waiting for a reply... (0+ / 1-)
    Recommended by:
    Hidden by:
    Grand Moff Texan
  •  state line (0+ / 0-)

    From the NSA reports, it's my understanding of telecommunications that if a threat was made by email or over the phone it was routed all over the place, including across statelines, before reaching the recipient. So, if there were death threats, these probably were federal crimes.

    An earlier commenter also made the point that phone lines are federal jurisdiction.

  •  Burn her! She turned me into a newt! (0+ / 0-)

    well...it got better.

    [ Anyone who thinks my bark is worse than my bite, has never seen me bite. ] -6.63 | -5.38

    by dj angst on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 09:17:32 AM PDT

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    ...a bunch of people who were unable or unwilling to perform the most basic fact checking,...

    The Sloth will rise again!

    We are all insurgents now.

    by The Gryffin on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 09:26:00 AM PDT

  •  Oh Please (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    eru

    Looks like the Repugnuts are appealing to anything that can get narrow minded (low IQ) mass hysteria started and get the media off of all their own peccadilloes. (smoke screens win elections for them)

  •  this raises blogging ethics questions (0+ / 0-)

    as has been pointed out above

    If you are interested in that discussion, please see my recent diary.

  •  Sounds familiar (0+ / 0-)

    I know of someone who at my school taught a lesson religious tolerance that spun way out of control.  The teacher was never even given the opportunity to defend himself once the press started reporting what they chose to report, in fact he was banned from publically commenting.  The lesson involved what happens when people decide to burn books, and the Quran was used as an example of the sorts of books that are often banned or challenged.  The islamic community has been up in arms for some time over it, but the lesson in its context was about how hateful it is to destroy ideas which don't match the majority view.  Sad times for inteleectural freedom.  

  •  Ah, the Internets. (0+ / 0-)

    It reminds me of a Scandinavian gentleman named Anders who, being so smitten with Miss Mariah Carey, started a blog and bid his readers go smite those who had webpages which showed Carey to be, shall we say, less than perfect.  This little nothing of a man could gather a few dozen people to send death threats whenever he wanted them to.  Despite harassment and threats, they continued for months because no ISP involved really cared all that much, and the law had no time to deal with the obviously unimportant Internets.

    Many conservative blogs, as you know, wield the same power but on a much larger scale.  And since this is standard Internet behavior anymore -- death threats are so 1992 -- who knows if law inforcement will actually do anything about it.  Not only that, but we've come to expect conservatives to act like angry monkeys, and this recent development is no surprise to anyone.

    That said, I would just like to say: "Heir Pianka".  Maybe Mr Hi Hitler sent that email?

    -4.88, -8.21 "I love this country!" - Yakov Smirnoff

    by CommiePinkoScum on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 10:42:33 AM PDT

  •  I think this is where is started (0+ / 0-)

    Meeting Doctor Doom

    Forrest M. Mims III
    Copyright 2006 by Forrest M. Mims III.

     There is always something special about science meetings. The 109th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science at Lamar University in Beaumont on 3-5 March 2006 was especially exciting for me, because a student and his professor presented the results of a DNA study I suggested to them last year. How fulfilling to see the baldcypress ( Taxodium distichum ) leaves we collected last summer and my tree ring photographs transformed into a first class scientific presentation that's nearly ready to submit to a scientific journal (Brian Iken and Dr. Deanna McCullough, "Bald Cypress of the Texas Hill Country: Taxonomically Unique?" 109th Meeting of the Texas Academy of Science Program and Abstracts [ PDF ], Poster P59, p. 84, 2006).

    But there was a gravely disturbing side to that otherwise scientifically significant meeting, for I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth's population by airborne Ebola. The speech was given by Dr. Eric R. Pianka (Fig. 1), the University of Texas evolutionary ecologist and lizard expert who the Academy named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.
    ...

    http://www.sas.org/...

  •  If You Think Ebola&#8217;s bad, Try Armageddon (0+ / 0-)

    I wonder if these people have spent any time contemplating the various Armageddon scenarios so popular among their peers in Texas and elsewhere. While it’s hard to know whether dying of Ebola in a city littered with other dead and dying is more unpleasant than the sublime slaughter elucidated in the Christianist "Left Behind" series or in the minds of faithful Armageddonists wherever they may be, there is one thing that separates the science-based vision from the religious one. Scientists are concerned about the fate of all people and are looking for ways to prevent a real-world Armageddon.

  •  Sorry but this guy (1+ / 3-)
    Recommended by:
    Jawis
    Hidden by:
    Kimberly Stone, pigpaste, wiscmass

    Sounds like a crack pot to me. That regardless of whether or not some of his antagonists are creationists . They're both nuts.

    •  '2006 Distinguished Scientist' (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      petewsh61

      That's the recognition Pianka received at that meeting of the TAS:

      Four decades ago, Eric R. Pianka produced the first synthetic review of latitudinal gradients in species diversity which has strongly
      influenced the field ever since. His own personal long-term panglobal studies of factors influencing desert lizard diversity are widely
      recognized as a modern-day classic. Pianka has also developed a remote sensing study of the effects of wildfires on spatial-
      temporal dynamic habitat mosaics as well as the interaction between local and regional phenomena as they affect biodiversity in
      the Great Victoria Desert of Western Australia. Pianka has demonstrated a determinedness and staying power rare among
      scientists and still avidly pursues his fieldwork. He invented many new techniques and concepts — his publications, including four
      “Citation Classics,” have changed the way most ecologists think, forever. Pianka’s conceptual contributions are wide ranging and
      include foraging theory, reproductive tactics, allocation theory and optimality, intercontinental comparisons, resource partitioning,
      community structure, species diversity, and, among his more recent interests, biogeography, landscape ecology, metapopulation structure, and phylogenetic systematics.



      That's just a sample of the description of his career at the linked site.

      Mother Nature bats last.

      by pigpaste on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 11:51:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Mims is a creationist, and (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Kimberly Stone, petewsh61

        Pianka wrote the classic textbook Evolutionary Ecology and is, according to the TAS meeting page linked to above, "presently engaged in new path-breaking research exploiting molecular techniques and modern comparative methodology in phylogenetic systematics to trace the actual course of evolution."

        This might explain Mims' hostility.  

        Mother Nature bats last.

        by pigpaste on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 11:58:30 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Mr. Pianka's work is.. (0+ / 0-)

        discussed by this guy in an article in the Ciotizen scientist.

        http://www.sas.org/...

        I'm still of the opinion that the guy is, to quote John Pruett at Burnt Orange Report, "insane. No exaggeration. Completely, utterly, maniacally insane."

        •  You're not serious... (0+ / 0-)

          that piece is a joke. Hint: the more of their own credentials a person lists in support of their academic standing, the lower their standing.

          Was his pith helmet at the cleaner's on the day that photo was taken?

          Mother Nature bats last.

          by pigpaste on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 12:23:46 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Mims threatens more than Pianka. (0+ / 0-)

            Upon writing to Citizen Scientist Mims to tell him, basically, to STFU, Mims is now threatening to go public with MY name as a 'supporter' of Pianka's.

            This guy is an insult to intellectual inquiry.

            "Words are, of course, the most potent drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling.

            by Kimberly Stone on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 01:10:55 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  Bull, Bull, Bull! (0+ / 0-)

          He doesn't discuss Pianka's publications - the repository of a scientist's peer-reviewed work.

          Either you don't understand how scientists do their work or you are a party to the smears Mim and his buddy at Citizen Scientist are spreading.

          Furthermore shit like this is a fearmongering smear:

          Carlson True enough. 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.

          Will Pianka one day have his own "family" of followers living in the wild with him? Who is to say? But for an interesting take on this question, consider this blog post (scroll down to 9 March) by a new and young Piankian who became converted at his Texas Academy of Science lecture.

          I simply remember history. Adolph Hitler did not invent social ideologies based on hatred of the Jews. He pulled the core of Nazi philosophy from certain influential German philosophers. Rather, Hitler's "final solution" merely took these perverted ideas farther than those philosophers could have imagined any sane person would take them.

          His analogy of Pianka to the mass murderers Charles Manson and Hitler just exposes Carlson as a loon.

          This whole thing is a fucking smear by a bunch of shameless jerks, nothing more.

    •  As a biology major, and physician... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rockhound, Ladlergo

      Pianka's way of expressing himself is wonky but true.  

      Humans, all higher organism are substrates for bacteria and other infectious microorganisms.  Our digestive tracts, skin, genitalia, etc., are just a petri dish like he said.  Most are benign, but some of course are not.

      Just look at the way that poultry is raised, and how quickly avian flu has spread.  It's no coincidence that if you crowd organisms together, sooner or later an organism will evolve that jumps the gap from one to another, and exploits the ecological niche.  Shit, AIDS is a virus that evolved to infect the cell-mediated immune system--our own defense against viral infections!  Sulfur-based bacteria live in superheated geyser water, and substitute sulfur atoms for the oxygen atom that all other life uses!  If these abberrations can appear, well, ANYTHING can happen!

    •  Recommend... (0+ / 0-)

      because even though I disagree with you. You aren't being a troll by any means.

      We also can realize the dream of a world without war, but only by stubborn persistence, only by a refusal to surrender that dream -Howard Zinn

      by Jawis on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 01:25:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the guy is a true scientist. read his webpage (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      petewsh61

      as far as i am concerned, anybody who says he is a crackpot after they have read his webpage has poor judgment

      Politics is not arithmetic. It's chemistry.

      by tamandua on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 03:49:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pianka's only mistake... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ladlergo

    The wingnuts would have had NO problem with Pianka's prediction...if only he had said the pandemic would be an act of God, punishing us for tolerating homosexuals.

  •  Pianka's critic Mims is a dangerous fucking loon. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rockhound

    Jesus Christ. I find myself embroiled in this whacked out business now.

    I wrote to Mims saying "Shame on you."

    His response is as follows:

    Pianka is deadly serious. A senior bio major heard his speech and published a blog endorsing his advocacy of 90 percent of humanity--perhaps including you--dying from Ebola. She told me in a face-to-face in an interview she is now willing to die to save the Earth.

    The loon continues:

    From the Seguin Gazette-Enterprise:

    "Does he believe nature will bring about this promised devastation? Or is humanity's own dissemination of a deadly virus the only answer? And more importantly, is this the motive behind his talks?

    "Responding to these very questions, Pianka said, "Good terrorists would be taking [Ebola Roaston [sic] and Ebola Zaire] so that they had microbes they could let loose on the Earth that would kill 90 percent of people."

    First of all, the Sequin Gazette-Enterprise? Hello? Have you ever been to Seguin Texas? Not a hotbed of journalistic activity, much less excellence.

    Second, is it as clear to everone as it is to me that this 'scientist' has no analytical ability to understand the difference between theoretical intellectual exploration and a threat? How do people like this get degrees?

    I've never in my life read something so irresponsible and scurrilous.

    The asshole wants to publish my letter to him, and I absolutely denied him permission to do so. If my name shows up on his hatemongering blog, he'll get sued so fast his head will spin.

    "Words are, of course, the most potent drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling.

    by Kimberly Stone on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 01:20:38 PM PDT

    •  Link to the blog? (0+ / 0-)

      Did he give you the blog's name or URL? Or is he just making stuff up?

      •  No link provided. (0+ / 0-)

        He could be making it up. Or not. It's impossible to guess what was really said by whom because, of course, there's no context provided and Mims can't be trusted for context and interpretation as far as I could hurl Gibraltar.

        In any case, this guys 'scientific' career, such as it is, is about to be over, because I have the feeling that his peers are going to treat him as an ideologue, an alarmist, an anti-intellectual, and shun him accordingly.

        Of course, it would be possible to write to all the publications and organizations that have ever worked with Mims and point out that Mims is an irresponsible pig who unleashed horrific and unfair criticism toward a fellow scientist.

        Just saying. Theoretically.

        "Words are, of course, the most potent drug used by mankind." Rudyard Kipling.

        by Kimberly Stone on Tue Apr 04, 2006 at 03:09:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Drudge (Proudly) Misrepresented Prof's Views (0+ / 0-)

    This story on the Prof's travails was proudly linked on Drudge's page:

    UPDATE: Prof threatened after 'Drudge Report' publishes his views on population control...

    .....................................................
    StarTribune.com doom040506

    Last update: April 04, 2006 – 10:05 AM
    Prof threatened after 'Drudge Report' publishes his views on population control

    Liz Austin, Associated Press
    AUSTIN, Texas — Talk radio and blogs are taking aim at a University of Texas biology professor because of a published report suggesting he advocates death for most of the human population as a means of saving the Earth.

    However, Eric Pianka says his remarks about his beliefs were taken out of context, that he was just raising a warning that deadly disease epidemics are a threat if population growth isn't contained.

    "What we really need to do is start thinking about controlling our population before it's too late," he said Monday. "It's already too late, but we're not even thinking about it. We're just mindlessly rushing ahead breeding our brains out."

    Pianka, who has gotten vitriolic e-mails and even a death threat, said he believes the Earth would be better off if there were fewer people using up natural resources and destroying habitats.

    The furor began when The Gazette-Enterprise of Seguin, Texas, reported Sunday on two speeches Pianka made last month to groups of scientists and students about vanishing animal habitats and the exploding human population.

    That report was circulated widely and posted on "The Drudge Report," then quickly became talk radio fodder.

    The Gazette-Enterprise quoted Pianka as saying disease "will control the scourge of humanity. We're looking forward to a huge collapse."

    It said he weighed the killing power of various diseases such as bird flu and HIV but decided neither would yield the needed results.

    "HIV is too slow. It's no good," he said.

    Pianka said that doesn't mean he wants most humans to die.

    However, Forrest Mims, an amateur scientist, author and chairman of the Texas Academy of Science's environmental science section, told The Associated Press there was no mistaking Pianka's disdain for humans and desire for their elimination in the speech he heard.

    "He wishes for it. He hopes for it. He laughs about it. He jokes about it," Mims said. "It's got to happen because we are the scourge of humanity."

    Pianka was expressing his own opinion, University of Texas spokesman Don Hale said.

    "Dr. Pianka has First Amendment rights to express his point of view," Hale said. "We have plenty of faculty with a lot of different points of view and they have the right to express that point of view, but they're expressing their personal point of view."

    ©2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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