Could this deadly virus save the earth?
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." ☼