Monday, April 03, 2006

Could this deadly virus save the earth?

Something strange appears to have transpired at the Texas Academy of Science last month. University of Texas evolutionary ecologist Eric Pianka, named the Academy's 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist, apparently gave a speech in which he advocated the spread of airborne Ebola to wipe out 90% of the world's population.

Why would he want so many people to perish? It's the only way to save the earth, Pianka told the audience, according to this account by Forrest M. Mims III, the editor of The Citizen Scientist, a webzine published by the Society for Amateur Scientists.

According to Mims, Pianka then suggested that Ebola, the deadly virus from the Congo, would achieve these ends perfectly, since it is estimated to have a 90% fatality rate. (It would also achieve these ends messily; before death, Ebola victims bleed from every bodily opening. Yuck.)

The speech was followed by "loud, vigorous and enthusiastic applause," said Mims, who later wrote: "I still can't get out of my mind the pleasant spring day in Texas when a few hundred scientists of the Texas Academy of Science gave a standing ovation for a speaker who they heard advocate for the slow and torturous death of over five billion human beings."


Blogger chris g said...

If I recall correctly - I think that's one of the major plot lines of one of Tom Clancy's books. He used it as a device to insult environmentalists.

8:37 PM  
Blogger Diogenes said...

I may be incorrect, but I believe the scientist in question did NOT advocate spreading the Ebola virus; rather, he spoke of the catastrophic effects of such an event. You can read more here:

8:21 PM  
Blogger greenfeather1 said...

No one likes the bearer of horrible news, but I believe it's true: this planet can't go on supporting this many humans living this unsustainably. Either we have to drastically cut back on our reproduction, or our consumption. I'm still waiting to hear suggestions how to achieve this without a lot of suffering.

4:03 AM  
Blogger David said...

Seems we could accomplish a reasonable reduction if everyone on the planet agreed not to have sex for at least 50 years. Might not be quite as unpleasant as airborne ebola.

Looks like the guy did get smeared pretty badly... scientists: almost as bad as politicians!

3:01 PM  
Blogger fdmts said...

We'll either stop our own exponential growth, or momma nature will stop it for us. Of course, her methods will include disease, starvation, predation, and war.

Up to us. Anyone got any better ideas.


7:49 PM  

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