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  Topic: Who is Eric Pianka?, And why does Dembski want him arrested?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
normdoering



Posts: 287
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,12:33   

On Uncommonly Dense:
http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/984

Do people have to die to save our civilization from ecological collapse?

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,12:47   

IIRC, our current activities are causing extinctions at an historical level. Stopping this would probably take some dramatic policies. But what Uncommonly Dense is doing is a technique familiar to anyone who's seen fox news and rush limbaugh &c. Find someone who's certifiably insane, and portray him as a representative of your opposition. "Liberals like Pianka want to murder you to protect some spotted owl..." It's an amazingly effective strategy, as attested by their political success over the last 15 years.

   
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,13:46   

Hmm. There was something fishy about this from the beginning. Why would some whacko who says we must self-inflict genocide upon ourselves to save the spotted owl or whatever, get a long standing ovation? Did he give his lecture at a University, or at Arkham Asylum?
So I did some search, and first thing I found out is that Pianka is actually a famous and respectable scientist, and also admired by most of his students.
Now, in Davescoteian logic, that would be enough for me to accept any nonsense he might have said, but I searched on nonetheless.
So I read several comments on Pianka's views, and found the class that was the core of his lecture:
http://www.zo.utexas.edu/courses/bio213/why.html

So... It seems that (surprise suprise) Pianka is not a †Eco-Nazi. He believes that the overpopulation of Earth, along with mankinds' abuse of it, has seriously damaged the ecosystem,to the point of total destruction. He thinks that this disastrous course can only be stopped by a drastic decrease of the human population. He thinks that an airborne ebola virus is an extremely likely scenario to cause this.
He does not propose that we deliberately plan this catastrophy, though. He does not say we must carefully devise, plan and execute genocide upon ourselves (he admits, in fact, our unwillingness and inability to control our population by much more, well, conventional means). He says that this disastrous pandemic is an extremely probable event, a result of the same ecologic imbalance our overpopulation has caused.
Granted, he seems to think this imminent destruction is not a bad thing: He views it as the only possible scenario in which both our species and life on Earth will survive. He does not say *we* should do this, however: He says it is going to happen.
And that is controversial, to say the least: An extremely pessimistic and cynical view- but it makes him sound more like Jurassic Park's Ian Malkolm (without the cool black suit), and less like some insane scientist, who plans to "intelligently design" some deadly strain of ebola virus and release it upon the world.
From all that I've read about this guy, I'm not sure I agree with him. I have a feeling he's more an activist than a cynic in reality, and his lectures are designed to deliberately scare people, so that he may more easily point to the problem of overpopulation (he may have a point, too: Sadly, that old Alternative 3 spoof did more to draw the public's attention to global warming than all lectures and research before that time).
But if I learned anything new (well, not new, actually) is how easily creationists resort to distortion of the facts and mudslinging to attack their opponents, even when they don't have to.
They could easily have mocked him for being an extremist, whacko scientist who thinks a global pandemic would be beneficial: But that wasn't good enough for them. Since they are on the side of good and justice by default, their enemies don't just have to be wrong, or even crazy: They must be EVIL.
So, Pianka became Dr. Doom, working on his doomsday machine in his secret underground laboratory with his lizardmen army.
Whatever, guys.

--------------
A look into DAVE HAWKINS' sense of honesty:

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

"...mutations can add information to a genome. †And remember, I have never said that this is not possible."

  
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,14:30   

Check my weblog post on Pianka and Mims.

Quote

My take on this is that we are witnessing an intellectual mugging here. As even Mims reports, ďIn his last e-mail, Pianka wrote that I completely fail to understand his arguments.Ē Iím guessing that Mimsís penchant for hyperbole and inability to accept correction on cherished misconceptions is the only thing of note here. Itís one thing for Pianka to be dinged for inflammatory rhetoric, and quite another for him to be accused of fostering and encouraging academic scientists to take up organized biological warfare.

Obligatory disclosure: I was a student of Kirk O. Winemillerís at Texas A&M University in 1993. Winemiller was a graduate student of Eric R. Pianka.


Edited by Wesley R. Elsberry on April 02 2006,19:32

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
Wesley R. Elsberry



Posts: 4807
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,19:47   

I point out that the ID rhetoric about "academic freedom" doesn't mean squat in this post.

They talk about people being "sternberged". Well, the ID folks seem intent on doing what they think was done to Sternberg to Eric Pianka.

--------------
"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

    
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 02 2006,21:38   

AFAIK, world population growth is flattening quite impressively, as birth control methods around the world turn out to be working very well.  The problem is more that everyone in the world aspires to "western" levels of consumption, which cannot be done with our present (or even next 20 years at least) levels of technology.  So we could either reduce our population drastically, to permit high levels of consumption, or we could reduce how much each of us consumes.  I'd prefer the latter.

  
normdoering



Posts: 287
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,05:43   

Quote (guthrie @ April 03 2006,02:38)
So we could either reduce our population drastically, to permit high levels of consumption, or we could reduce how much each of us consumes.  I'd prefer the latter.

How would you feel about a humane form of genocide?

For example, instead of using a bioweapon to kill people we create a bioweapon that attacks women's egg cells or the lining of the womb the egg cells must attach to so that most (but not all) women exposed become sterile?

Then you could unleash it in the mideast and vacinate selected parts of your own population against it.

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 03 2006,05:55   

Drastic reductions in our energy and resources footprint would not be difficult. We just put no value on it as a society. Some people give lip service to it, but others claim some perverse value whereby whatever consumption activities have been done by Americans recently, now become "the American lifestyle", and the preservation of those careless and wasteful activities becomes some kind of pseudoethical value. Big reductions in our energy and resources footprint would not be difficult at all. For example, I have a Nissan Sentra, but I typically drive my Honda Metro II scooter the 3 miles to my engineering job in RTP. The sentra gets 35 mpg. The scooter, which I drive the vast majority of the time, gets somewhere around 80 mpg. I could afford a 2000 sq ft house and a $200/mo power bill, but instead I have a 700 sq ft apt which costs $50/mo to heat or cool.

It's easy to do, people just have to value it.

   
Drew Headley



Posts: 152
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,10:48   

Dembski's site has just posted a link to part of the transcript for Pianka's speech to the TAS. I thought that this quote stood out:
Quote
Hereís the most optimistic projection: Is we donít have a collapse.

Yeah, he definitely wants to kill 90% of humanity.

http://www.pearceyreport.com/archives/2006/04/transcript_dr_d.php

   
Arden Chatfield



Posts: 6657
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,11:12   

Quote (Drew Headley @ April 06 2006,15:48)
Dembski's site has just posted a link to part of the transcript for Pianka's speech to the TAS. I thought that this quote stood out:
Quote
Hereís the most optimistic projection: Is we donít have a collapse.

Yeah, he definitely wants to kill 90% of humanity.

http://www.pearceyreport.com/archives/2006/04/transcript_dr_d.php

In Planet Dave, Pianka is a bioterrorist in precisely the same way as we burn chrches.

I'm surprised Dembski hasn't called the Alabama State Troopers to have us arrested.

--------------
"Rich is just mad because he thought all titties had fur on them until last week when a shorn transvestite ruined his childhood dreams by jumping out of a spider man cake and man boobing him in the face lips." - Erasmus

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,11:19   

Quote
Uncommonly Dense is doing is a technique familiar to anyone who's seen fox news and rush limbaugh &c. Find someone who's certifiably insane, and portray him as a representative of your opposition
As Faid pointed out, there's nothing particularly insane about what Pianka had to say. So far as I can tell, he gave a lecture very much like one I gave two days ago.

I showed a graph of human population over the past 2000 years. I showed that within a couple/few generations, it's going to reach a maximum. That much is certain. Almost as certain: there will be a number of factors contributing to the leveling or decline in population; it won't just be one factor, like suddenly everyone getting with the birth control program. Limitation of resources (famine and drought), ecological despoliation, wars over limited resources... I suspect all of these will play a role. But I'd be particularly surprised if infectious disease isn't right up there at the top of the list.

Now, will it be Ebola? Personally, I doubt it. But one of these years, something like the 1918 flu virus is going to reappear. I'm not advocating it. I just think it's likely.

Can anyone point me to any statement that Pianka made that comes any closer to advocating killer pandemics than what I just said? If not, either Dembski has hit a new low, or I should be reported  to the DHS as well.

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,11:33   

Quote
Can anyone point me to any statement that Pianka made that comes any closer to advocating killer pandemics than what I just said? If not, either Dembski has hit a new low, or I should be reported  to the DHS as well.


as expected, there were no statements in the transcript that have Pianka advocating the use of a virus to wipe out humanity.  It was just like we (I include those who actually have rational thought processes) thought.  he simply identified a potential agent of population reduction, based on current and predicted levels of population growth and interaction.

nothing new, nothing novel, nothing even too controversial.

leave it to the IDiots to make irrational assumptions and deliberate falsifications.

again, nothing new, nothing novel.

as a side note, did anybody catch the story about the deputy press secretary of DHS being arrested and indicted for child pornography and soliticing sex from a minor?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn....58.html

where DO they find these folks?

 Not just my question mind you, but now the subject of a Federal Investigation.

  
steve_h



Posts: 533
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,11:34   

It has come to my attention that another American academic may be planning wholesale slaughter. The Mathematician, philosopher and theologian of whom I speak may have joined some sort of death-cult which is eagerly anticipating an end of the world scenario in which everyone not on thier side will be gruesomely slaughtered (and perhaps tortured), leaving themselves to enjoy a new idyllic existence in the aftermath. †Not only that but they all think such an occurence will be a good thing. Maybe giant mutant multi-headed beasts will be involved. †Maybe some of them are trying to think of ways to make it happen sooner and are engaged in breeding and design programs .... I haven't seen any transcripts or anything yet, but it makes you think doesn't it?

So, should I report this guy to the cops? Would it be an idea to hint that he might be armed so they go in shooting?

;)

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,11:38   

Quote
...gruesomely slaughtered (and perhaps tortured),


...by putting their heads in a vise, perhaps?

(If I take who you're implying correctly)

  
steve_h



Posts: 533
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,11:55   

Yes, I've heard of vices being mentioned. Not in respect of the end of world scenario, but to extract information or force confessions from opponents while they are waiting for that.


(I think your take is correct, but I would not like to go on the record about that until I've seen the transcripts)

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,12:14   

oh, sorry, what i was referring to is already on record.

go take a look at Dembski's "vice strategy", complete with pictures of a little toy darwin with his head being crushed in a vice. †He put it on UD last year, and not only was the article a treatise on their wish to torture their enemies, but several commenters, including slaveador, have since promulgated their desire to put "darwinists" under a kind of spanish-inquisition (his view of a "correct" court of law) in order to "force the truth" out of them.

these folks ARE scary, and often demonstrate such publically (think Robertson as well).

Perhaps you were in fact referring to someone else?

  
stevestory



Posts: 10127
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,12:19   

And worse, they think their leader, the torturer, is the arbiter of right and wrong, and furthermore the source of all that is ethical. Truly, someone should call the authorities.

   
Drew Headley



Posts: 152
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,12:20   

Quote (sir_toejam @ April 06 2006,17:14)
oh, sorry, what i was referring to is already on record.

go take a look at Dembski's "vice strategy", complete with pictures of a little toy darwin with his head being crushed in a vice. †He put it on UD last year, and not only was the article a treatise on their wish to torture their enemies, but several commenters, including slaveador, have since promulgated their desire to put "darwinists" in a kind of spanish-inquisition in order to "force the truth" out of them.

these folks ARE scary, and often demonstrate such publically (think Robertson as well).

Perhaps you were in fact referring to someone else?

If I recall correctly, the vise strategy was devised to help the TMLC in their questioning of scientists that supported evolution. It was actually humorous in its fetishization of interrogation. At one point Sal was making up a hypothetical dialog about getting an evolutionist to 'confess'. I could just imagine Sal writing it and then reading over and over again while stroking his you know what.

Edit: Just checked up on this, he did not create a fake dialog, he took it from the transcript of hardball. However, he does practically what I described above in a comment where he has several questions to stump 'Darwinists' and then refutes the strawman answers he creates.
http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/791#comment-23374

   
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,13:04   

Quote
nothing new, nothing novel, nothing even too controversial. ... again, nothing new, nothing novel.
No, not in the warped thinking of IDists, but if Dembski literally picked up the phone, and literally reported this to the DHS, then that moves his mental issues out of the area of just blather and into the world of actions for which one has to take responsibility. It seems to me at least as reprehensible as what DeLay did in trying to use the DHS against Democratic Texas legislators.

But maybe Dembski isn't really that insane; maybe this is just another episode of "street theater".

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
sir_toejam



Posts: 846
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 06 2006,14:07   

think John Lovitz during his saturday night live days:

"Acting!"

  
guthrie



Posts: 696
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,00:36   

Quote (normdoering @ April 03 2006,10:43)
Quote (guthrie @ April 03 2006,02:38)
So we could either reduce our population drastically, to permit high levels of consumption, or we could reduce how much each of us consumes. †I'd prefer the latter.

How would you feel about a humane form of genocide?

For example, instead of using a bioweapon to kill people we create a bioweapon that attacks women's egg cells or the lining of the womb the egg cells must attach to so that most (but not all) women exposed become sterile?

Then you could unleash it in the mideast and vacinate selected parts of your own population against it.

HUmane form of genocide?  Thats very close to being an oxymoron.  So its ok to kill people/ take away their reproductive freedoms?  Not in my book.  I expect someone will consider it sometime, somewhere, but I wouldnt agree with it.

  
normdoering



Posts: 287
Joined: July 2005

(Permalink) Posted: April 07 2006,13:17   

Quote (guthrie @ April 07 2006,05:36)
I expect someone will consider it sometime, somewhere, but I wouldnt agree with it.

You don't have to agree with it. You just have to see it coming. In time it won't take much of a research effort to do that or worse. Viruses can now be created from scratch.

One of these days, someone is going to do it no matter what we think.

If you're a Muslim I would suggest you wear a facemask to the next Hajj for this reason alone:
http://www.seedmagazine.com/news....ask.php

  
BWE



Posts: 1898
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: April 10 2006,12:40   

Wow. Dembski has a policy that is similar to armageddon. Woo eee. I can't wait to be left behind. All those stupid ### ###### will be gone.

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
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