Misanthropic evolutionists want better living through mass death

Jonathan Witt

The Scripps Howard News Service is carrying this arresting story by Deroy Murdock:

Most ecologists want to make life easy for butterflies and waterfalls. Who can argue with that? Some environmental extremists, however, think what Earth really needs is fewer people. In some cases, billions fewer.
“We’re no better than bacteria!” University of Texas biologist Eric Pianka recently announced. “Things are gonna get better after the collapse because we won’t be able to decimate the Earth so much,” he added. “And, I actually think the world will be much better when there’s only 10 or 20 percent of us left.”
Pianka dreamed that disease “will control the scourge of humanity.” He celebrated the potential of Ebola Reston, an airborne strain of the killer virus, to make Earth nearly human-free. “We’ve got airborne 90 percent mortality in humans. Killing humans. Think about that.”
Just five hours after Pianka’s March 3 speech to the Texas Academy of Science, which Forrest Mims III covered March 31 in The Citizen Scientist, the Academy named Pianka its 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist. Several hundred scientists gave Pianka a standing ovation, Mims reported.
Pianka is not alone.

Murdock’s story adds several new instances of the disturbing sort of thinking noted in previous Evolution News stories on the subject (here, here, and here). What’s the tie-in to evolution? Pianka is an ardent defender of modern evolutionary theory and the materialist worldview it underpins. Materialism denies any role for a creative intelligence in the history of life or the universe. Historically, this has also led both materialists and those influenced by materialism to de-emphasize or ignore the crucial role of creativity in human culture. In the arts it has led to an attack on the category of artistic genius, replaced by the idea that claims of artistic authority are little more than a tool of the upper classes to maintain power. In economics, it has led to the zero-sum-game thinking of the hard left, where it’s believed that wealthy entrepreneurs do not create new wealth but merely appropriate a disproportionate piece of the pie, to the detriment of the poor laboring class. Like those who go right on believing in Darwinism against the growing tide of evidence, so too do these zero-sum thinkers go right on believing their economic model despite the fact that laborers are consistently better off in free market economies than in countries controlled by zero-sum thinking (e.g., the Soviet Union, East Germany). In ecology, it has led to a similar kind of zero-sum thinking, where it’s assumed that individual humans cannot bring anything creatively positive to planet earth.
Or perhaps I’m making this more complicated than it is. If the ecologists are like a lot of us, they fantasize about having a nice place in the country with ready access to unpeopled nature. If humans–as materialism teaches–are no more valuable than a cockroach, then why not fantasize about wiping out roughly 90 times as many people as were killed in the war Hitler started?
I know why our country doesn’t lock up people who fantasize about a new holocaust on a scale that would dwarf all others in human history. We’re a republic that rightly defends intellectual freedom. What I don’t get is why our country–populated overwhelmingly by people who reject the materialistic, nihilistic vision propounded by Pianka and others–nevertheless sets up Ebola holocaust lovers and their nihilistic/materialist cohorts in tenured and taxpayer funded positions at our public universities, not roughly in proportion to their representation among our total population (about 10-12% of us) but in numbers so great that these materialists function as the ideological gatekeepers at these institutions? Maybe when enough socially conservative and moderate Republicans and Democrats begin asking that same question, something will change.

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.