UT Professor, Others Support Forrest Mims’ Account of Evolutionary Ecologist Eric Pianka’s Speech

Jonathan Witt

After scientist and science writer Forrest Mims described University of Texas ecologist Eric Pianka’s speech to the Texas Academy of Science in which he expressed a longing for an ebola virus to wipe out 90 percent of the world’s population, Pianka’s defenders quickly went on the attack, claiming that Mims had wantonly misrepresented Pianka. But several lines of evidence suggest that Mims described Pianka’s speech quite accurately.

James Redford provides an excellent one-stop post of these various lines of evidence here. William Dembski reports on a UT professor corroborating Mims’ account, as does Richard Pearcey here. Our original posts on the subject are here and here.
The real news story in this case isn’t that a lone scientist, Pianka, expressed such alarming views. The academic establishment has had more than its share of Pianka’s sort for years. The frightening thing is that he was apparently given a standing ovation for his holocaust dream by numerous members of the Texas Academy of Science, who even voted him the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist.
Meanwhile, tax dollars from Texas and the rest of the United States continue to fund Pianka’s UT position while scientists who argue that design is detectable in the natural world are judged anathema by the academic establishment supported by these tax dollars. This is a curious situation. At least 90 percent of the voters and taxpayers of our country find Pianka’s views not only repugnant but dangerous. But they are made to subsidize the views of Pianka and the entire American-hating, humanity-loathing radical left that currently has a stranglehold on most of the top public universities in our country. Moreover, fully 90 percent of our voters and taxpayers find obvious the idea that nature provides clear indicators of design, and yet they are made to subsidize the same academic establishment that deems such a view unacceptable among their scientists.
Is this 90 percent majority really so powerless that it cannot reform the situation? I suspect that Pianka, at least, knows better, and dreams at night that something will come along and make this 90 percent of the population disappear.

Jonathan Witt

Executive Editor, Discovery Institute Press and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Jonathan Witt, PhD, is Executive Editor of Discovery Institute Press and a senior fellow and senior project manager with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. His latest book is Heretic: One Scientist’s Journey from Darwin to Design (DI Press, 2018) written with Finnish bioengineer Matti Leisola. Witt has also authored co-authored Intelligent Design Uncensored, A Meaningful World: How the Arts and Sciences Reveal the Genius of Nature, and The Hobbit Party: The Vision of Freedom That Tolkien Got, and the West Forgot. Witt is the lead writer and associate producer for Poverty, Inc., winner of the $100,000 Templeton Freedom Award and recipient of over 50 international film festival honors.