Nick Matzke posted Entry 2182 on April 6, 2006 08:22 PM.
Trackback URL: http://www.pandasthumb.org/cgi-bin/mt/mt-tb.fcgi/2177

Well, what a difference a day makes. After several days of the wingnuts advertising, promising, and slavering over the prospect of the transcripts of Pianka’s lectures being put online, they have finally got around to doing it. Discovery Institute fellow/young-earth creationist/Of Pandas and People coauthor Nancy Pearcey has put up a (mysteriously partial) transcript of Pianka’s first lecture, the one that Forrest Mims saw at the Texas Academy of Science in early March. And the Seguin Gazette-Express, which has been credulously spouting Mims’s unsupported allegations from the very beginning, and which spread them to the world via the Drudge Report, has finally put up the promised transcript of Pianka’s second lecture, at St. Edward’s University (Austin, TX) last week, which is evidently has the same topic, title, and content. Pianka has given this lecture, entitled “Kill all humans with ebola!!”The Vanishing Book of Life,” seven times now, clearly in a clever attempt to hide his views from the public.

Well, we can now see why the wingnuts were dragging their feet: they haven’t got squat on Pianka. Read the first lecture. Read the second lecture. Even I was shocked: from the hysteria stemming from Mims’s and the Seguin Gazette-Express‘s reports, I was at least expecting a frothing-at-the-mouth, eco-wacko speech from Pianka. But it’s actually milder stuff than I was expecting. Sure, there are several statements and assertions that Pianka makes that I dislike or dispute, and he definitely gets emotionally worked up about what humans are doing to biodiversity – but there is nothing, nothing, indicating that Pianka advocates killing 90% of the world population, and nothing indicating that Pianka hates humanity.

Here is the shocking conclusion of Pianka’s lecture, where he exhorts his audience to go bioengineer airborn ebola and kill off as much of humanity as possible:

Dr. Eric Pianka lecture transcript wrote:

And I wanted to tell you about John Stuart Mill and point out that there have been bright people who have seen this coming for a long, long, long time.

Mill wrote that [the Art of Living, I gather] back in 1858, and it’s basically a statement about a stationary world and how a stationary world can be a good world. In a stationary world you don’t have to worry about bubbles bursting, about losing your, uh, your stock, about, about, you know, running out of oil. In a stationary world we were sustainable and the world stays the same from day to day.

So he says in a stationary world as opposed to one that’s grow, grow, grow where everybody has to elbow the other guy and compete to get to the front and be concerned about who’s going to win and who’s going to lose everyday in the stock market. And in a stationary world we can focus in on things that really matter. And he used a phrase that I really love – the art of living. We can work on the art of living. Think about that.

Compare that to what IDists and other gullible wackos were saying about Pianka before the transcript came out (I have helpfully bolded the bits referencing Nazis, the holocaust, eugenics, terrorism, death-wishes, misanthropy, etc.):

Forrest Mims, quoted in the Seguin Gazette-Herald:

But don’t tell local “citizen scientist” Forrest Mims to quietly swallow Pianka’s call to awareness. Mims says it’s an “abhorrent death wish” and contends he has “no choice but to take a stand.”

[…]

“This guy is a loose cannon to believe that worldwide genocide is the only answer,” said Mims, who filed two formal petitions with the academy following the meeting.

[…]

Mims worries fertile young minds with a thirst for knowledge may develop into enthusiastic supporters of a deadly disease, advocating the fall of humanity.

“He recommended airborne Ebola as an ideal killing virus,” Mims said. “He showed slides of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse and human skulls. He joked about requiring universal sterilization. It reminded me of a futuristic science fiction movie with a crazed scientist planning the death of humanity.”

Forrest Mims, Meeting Doctor Doom:

But there was a gravely disturbing side to that otherwise scientifically significant meeting, for I watched in amazement as a few hundred members of the Texas Academy of Science rose to their feet and gave a standing ovation to a speech that enthusiastically advocated the elimination of 90 percent of Earth’s population by airborne Ebola.

[…]

Meanwhile, 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.

William Dembski:

Eric Pianka: The Department of Homeland Security needs to interview you

I blogged yesterday about UTAustin professor Eric Pianka (aka “Dr. Doom”) and his advocacy of killing 90% of the world’s human population with airborne Ebola. Could Pianka be charged with terrorism/conspiracy to commit a terrorist act? What happens if a student actually takes his suggestion to heart and kills a bunch of people? Why shouldn’t we think that Dr. Doom himself would commit the act of human destruction he is advocating? How is what he is saying any different from somebody at an airport saying that he plans to plant a bomb there. Note: This is not a matter of saying he actually has planted a bomb but saying that he plans to plant one – that surely would be enough in the current climate to get him arrested. So what about Pianka? At what point do his remarks advocating human destruction constitute a terrorist threat that get him arrested? And if not arrested, how about committed?

As soon as this is posted, I’m going to have a chat with the Department of Homeland Security. [Called them – They are aware of it; it will be interesting to see if they do anything about it.] For your information, I’ve posted an article below by a reporter who was there at Pianka’s remarks (AP refused to pick up the story, so the page is presently overloaded).

Would “Dr. Doom” be conceivable apart from evolutionary theory?

Tonight, THE CITIZEN SCIENTIST has posted online “Meeting Dr. Doom,” Forrest Mims’s first-person account of an astonishing speech by Prof. Eric R. Pianka of the University of Texas.

Pianka was recently named the 2006 Distinguished Texas Scientist at the annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Science. Mims is an active member of the Academy and chairs its Environmental Science Section.

In his Distinguished Scientist speech, Pianka advocated eliminating 90 percent of the world’s population by airborne Ebola to save the world. He said we are no better than bacteria and made other intemperate statements.

“MikeGene” of TelicThoughts:

We know that scientists and scholars are more than willing to sign-off on public statements that allow them to dissociate themselves from a colleague who adopts a controversial position.

I’m reminded of these decrees because of something William Dembski just blogged out (see here, here, and here). According to Forrest Mims, Dr. Eric R. Pianka, who is an evolutionary ecologist from the University of Texas, gave a rather distrubing speech to his fellow scientists and students at the 109th meeting of the Texas Academy of Science.

Pianka apparently adopts a metaphysical view of reality that is hostile to human existence, arguing, “We’re no better than bacteria!” According to Mims, Pianka advocates sterilization and complains about smarter people having fewer kids. These are eugenicist arguments (you can them see documented here. ). But what is most disturbing is that Pianka actually expresses glee at the thought of my children (and your children) dying from a torturous infectious disease (while preaching about “uncaring” people). What’s more, it looks like Pianka actually got a standing ovation from the scientific community after advocating his anti-human views.

Well, I’d say it’s Decree time. The scientific community has shown an eagerness and willingness to publicly dissociate themselves from such dangerous radicals as Guillermo Gonzalez and Michael Behe. If the faculty at University of Texas do not write up and sign off on a decree that dissociates themselves from Pianka and his views, doesn’t the justification for the anti-ID decrees kick in? That is, shouldn’t we assume that most faculty at the University of Texas support Pianka’s anti-human views?

Salvador Cordova, a leader in the pro-ID IDEA clubs:

[Note: Although I have my doubts, in the spirit of Pianka’s own misunderstood humor I have taken this one out, since Sal says he operating in the context of a hypothetical thread. I’m not sure anyone on either side there saw it that way, but see the Telic Thoughts post (which was moved to the Memory Hole along with many related comments in response) and Sal’s comment here and decide for yourself]

Jonathan Witt on the Discovery Institute blog:

Our biosphere wasn’t the product of a creative intelligence but rather of atoms knocking about in the void, they insist. Having defined a Creative Intelligence out of the equation of human origins, they then seek out political, economic, and ecological models that minimize or ignore the role of human creativity–ideologies that view life as a zero-sum game and humans as mere animals or, worse, as an aggressive pestilence on the Earth.

(Hmm, “Creative Intelligence” is an unusual reference to the intelligent designer, I wonder who that might be.)

Press secretary of the Governor of Texas:

The very same day TAS declared its stance, Kathy Walt, press secretary for Gov. Rick Perry, expressed disdain over what Pianka calls his “doomsday talk.” Walt called the scientist’s viewpoints “abhorrent” and likened them to Hitler’s “hate-filled Third Reich.”

[…]

“Professor Pianka’s gleeful embracing of the destruction of 90 percent of the earth’s population as a necessary and worthy event is abhorrent, as is his notion that human life holds no more value than that of a lizard, bison or rhinoceros,” Walt said.

Glenn McGee, editor of the American Journal on Bioethics:

As director of the Alden March Bioethics Institute, McGee’s forte is analyzing matters of practice in the health science industry. McGee’s reaction to the professor’s conduct described Pianka as an educator “who is spewing venom.”

He went on to compare the situation to doctors in Nazi Germany.

“The difference is that they wanted to find pure blood, where Pianka just doesn’t care that the poor and vulnerable would die first and worst under his scheme,”

“Pianka has crossed over into that rare category of scientist who serves as lightning rod,” McGee said. “His claim is stupid, irresponsible, and casts doubt in the minds of the public on what it is that scientists like him do in the first place: It makes people wonder whether or not every scientist with a big beard, who worries about the biological balance of the earth, is actually planning a holocaust of the kind Pianka appears to want“.”

Jamie Mobley, the wannabe reporter at the Seguin Gazette-Herald:

Though his statements are admittedly bold, he’s not without abundant advocates. But what may set this revered biologist apart from other doomsday soothsayers is this: Humanity’s collapse is a notion he embraces.

James Pitts, a “Ph.D. in physics from UT-Austin”:

“Pianka’s message does not fall within the realm of his professional competence as a biologist, because it is a normative claim, not a descriptive one. Pianka is encouraged to use his ecological expertise to predict the likely consequences of certain technological and reproductive strategies, but to evaluate some as good, bad, or worthy of prevention by genocide is the realm of philosophy or political science, not science. His message falls no more within his professional competence than it would for a physicist to teach religion in class or a musician to encourage racism.”

Again, let me know if anyone apologizes and retracts their remarks. I know of but one.

According to this recent post by Wes Elsberry, Mims is shocked, yes shocked, to find out that this character assassination might come back to bite him. He is now threatening other people at the Texas Academy of Sciences that dare contradict his version of events and who are organizing a petition to discipline Mims. I have no idea what procedures the Texas Academy of Science might have for this kind of thing – probably at most they can issue a statement, or boot Mims from his position as a section chair – but given that Mims has not only assassinated Pianka’s character, but insulted the intelligence and character of the entire Texas Academy of Science, this seems pretty fair to me.

If Mims had any desire to actually do the right thing, he would apologize publicly to Pianka and to everyone he misled, and then resign from the Texas Academy of Science. I won’t hold my breath.

PS: Jason has similar comments at Evolutionblog.

Commenters are responsible for the content of comments. The opinions expressed in articles, linked materials, and comments are not necessarily those of PandasThumb.org. See our full disclaimer.

Comment #95276

Posted by UnMark on April 6, 2006 11:05 PM (e)

IANAL, but I would think Pianka ought to have a pretty solid case for prosecuting Mims for libel and slander. That, IMO, would be the best outcome from this fiasco.

Comment #95283

Posted by Lurker on April 6, 2006 11:28 PM (e)

Is this the same transcript of the latest talk? http://seguingazette.com/story.lasso?ewcd=3817403731ee3d74&page=all

Comment #95284

Posted by Lurker on April 6, 2006 11:31 PM (e)

Nevermind.

Comment #95285

Posted by Nick Matzke on April 6, 2006 11:31 PM (e)

PPS: You can get your very own Ebola plush toy here at GIANTmicrobes.com for just $5.95. Just don’t tell Dembski, or you’ll be getting a visit from the FBI.

I should also add, I think their bubonic plague plush toy is defective, as it is not covered with sharp, toxin-injecting needles powered by Type III secretion systems.

Comment #95286

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on April 6, 2006 11:32 PM (e)

That transcript utterly demolishes any claim that Mims has to being honest or even having any form of integrity. If he doesn’t apologise then he should be fired. In fact even if he does he should still be dismissed.

Comment #95288

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on April 6, 2006 11:37 PM (e)

Oi Nick! You’ve stolen my job of carefully adding Giantmicrobe product placement whenever I can!

Comment #95289

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on April 6, 2006 11:40 PM (e)

Nick,

What I wrote was in response the the hypothetical question posed at Telic thoughts:

Expressing Glee at Humanity’s Mass Death

Hypothetically, if Pianka has indeed expressed glee at the prospects of Humanity’s mass death, what follows?

I responded to that hypotehtical situation, and yet you mis-represent me as if this is what I am actually “saying about Pianka” in real life. I was commenting about what would happen in a hypothetical situation. My comment was moved to the “memory hole”, it originated in that thread.

I protest the way you’re portraying my statement is if it is something I actually believe and promote about Pianka. I reflected the sentiments floating around through this hypothetical situation.

I think your portrayal that this is my actual belief about Pianka is highly unfair, wrong, and ultimately a misreprestation of the context of where I made that statement.

Salvador

Comment #95291

Posted by W. Kevin Vicklund on April 6, 2006 11:43 PM (e)

My wife is in Canada doing anthropology research on the social aftereffects of an E. coli outbreak, and when we saw those in a store in Stratford, she kind of went crazy buying them. She has a Guardia (sp?) and an E. Coli, and has given away Mono, several Black Deaths, and other diseases I’m blanking on.

You know, it’s tempting to send one to Mims. Think it’s worth skipping a couple lunches for the satisfaction?

Comment #95292

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 11:45 PM (e)

several right-wing bloggers (Ed Minchau) chose to defacto accept Mims account, and assume Pianka was backpeddaling in his iterviews with the media after his talk. They (Ed Minchau) came to PT and told us we were fools to think this wasn’t a case of a professor “gone mad”, despite the lack of logic they (Ed Minchau) showed in reaching this conclusion.

When we pointed out that it seemed extremely unlikely that an entire audience would give a standing ovation for someone promoting mass genocide they (Ed Minchau), told us the entire audience must have been composed of eco-whackos (praphrase).

I wonder if they (Ed Minchau) will now reconsider the mentality that lead them never to doubt their creationist sources, and irrationally assume the worst of scientists?

Will they (Ed Minchau) come here to admit their error?

doubtful.

Just to have some fun, I’m gonna say it:

ED:

I told you so; heck, we ALL told you so.

Comment #95293

Posted by steve s on April 6, 2006 11:46 PM (e)

Hypothetically, Salvador is a dumbass.

Hypothetically.

I resent any other inference.

Comment #95294

Posted by Miguelito on April 6, 2006 11:46 PM (e)

Wingnuts in full, abject retreat on Pianka

Wingnuts don’t retreat. They’re more like a suicide squad.

Comment #95295

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 11:47 PM (e)

I think your portrayal that this is my actual belief about Pianka is highly unfair, wrong, and ultimately a misreprestation of the context of where I made that statement.

Salvador

and you lie when you say that it is essentially a misrepresenation of your side’s position.

and you know it.

but then, you do so enjoy lying for the cause, don’t you Sal?

talk about backpeddaling.

LOL.

Comment #95296

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 11:49 PM (e)

Wingnuts don’t retreat. They’re more like a suicide squad.

Friggin’ Judean People’s Front!

Bloody splitters!

Comment #95297

Posted by Stephen Erickson on April 6, 2006 11:50 PM (e)

Does Bill Demski have no shame?

Comment #95299

Posted by Joseph O'Donnell on April 6, 2006 11:51 PM (e)

Sally

I think your portrayal that this is my actual belief about Pianka is highly unfair, wrong, and ultimately a misreprestation of the context of where I made that statement.

Just like how many, including you, swallowed the disgusting accusations of Mims hook line and sinker is it? Now that it’s clearly all bollocks we’re supposed to take it seriously that, all of a sudden, you meant those statements purely hypothetically? Unfortunately a leopard can’t change its spots and your posts elsewhere give you away for what you are.

Guess what Sally, when you lie down with dogs be prepared to get up with fleas.

Comment #95301

Posted by steve s on April 6, 2006 11:56 PM (e)

So Salvador, tell us your thoughts on Bill Dembski reporting Pianka to the Department of Homeland Security.

Comment #95302

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 6, 2006 11:58 PM (e)

She has a Guardia (sp?) and an E. Coli, and has given away Mono, several Black Deaths, and other diseases I’m blanking on.

you mean Giardia?

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/giardiasis/factsht_giardia.htm

nasty little bugger.

I have actually, in the past, done a step by step comparison of IDiots like Slaveador and Girardia on PT. I think it was about a year ago now.

Too many similarities for the comparison to indicate anything other than design.

Comment #95303

Posted by Steven Carr on April 6, 2006 11:59 PM (e)

Pianka appears to be saying no more than church leaders are saying.

The Archbishop of Canterbury says that unless there is change, billions of people will die.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-2107107,00.html

‘“And yet, unless there is a real change in attitude, we have to contemplate these very unwelcome possibilities if we want the global economy not to collapse and millions, billions, of people not to die.”

Perhaps we should call him ‘Archbishop Doom’?

Comment #95306

Posted by Nick Matzke on April 7, 2006 12:14 AM (e)

Sal,

I have made the relevant edit, the situation is crazy enough without a secondary fight.

Nick

Comment #95307

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 7, 2006 12:15 AM (e)

‘The Archbishop of Doom’

sounds like a new World Wrestling Federation character.

Will he fight Hulk Hogan for the future of humanity?

Comment #95308

Posted by caerbannog on April 7, 2006 12:18 AM (e)


Does Bill Demski have no shame?

No.

Any more silly questions? ;)

Comment #95309

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 7, 2006 12:20 AM (e)

I have made the relevant edit, the situation is crazy enough without a secondary fight.

LOL.

I think the edit may imply more than the quote did.

but hey, you did what he asked, right?

*snicker*

Comment #95311

Posted by Drew Headley on April 7, 2006 12:20 AM (e)

DaveScot over at Dembski’s blog is now saying the transcript on Pearcey’s website does not include the ebola portion of the talk. Any thoughts?
http://www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/996#comment-30420

Comment #95314

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova on April 7, 2006 12:28 AM (e)

Thanks Nick.

Salvador

Comment #95315

Posted by gwangung on April 7, 2006 12:29 AM (e)

DaveScot over at Dembski’s blog is now saying the transcript on Pearcey’s website does not include the ebola portion of the talk. Any thoughts?

DaveScot also thinks he’s competent in Dover, PA law.

Consider the source.

Comment #95319

Posted by Sir_Toejam on April 7, 2006 1:09 AM (e)

DS said:

…is exactly what Mims heard in the Lamar speech.

yikes.

even tho it ISN’T in the speech (and he even as much as admits this), he prefers to think what Mims heard is correct anyway!

is it any wonder we think ol Davey and his cohorts have a screw loose somewheres?

Davey will hang on to the wrong end of that red-hot poker until it burns his hand clean off, in the utterly futile hope that somehow he will be able to use it to torture his enemies.

And they call liberals “haters”. does the projection and denial never end?

Comment #95327

Posted by 'Rev Dr' Lenny Flank on April 7, 2006 7:08 AM (e)

Posted by Salvador T. Cordova

Hi, Sal. Welcome back.

When you’re done whining, I have a few questions for you that you ran away fom the last time (thought I forgot, didn’t you):

1. What is the scientific theory of intelligent design, and how do we test it using the scientific method?

2. According to this scientific theory of intelligent design, how old is the earth, and did humans descend from apelike primates or did they not?

3. what, precisely, about “evolution” is any more “materialistic” than weather forecasting, accident investigation, or medicine?

4. do you repudiate the extremist views of the primary funder of the Center for (the Renewal of) Science and Culture, Howard Ahmanson, and if so, why do you keep taking his money anyway? And if you, unlike most other IDers, are not sucking at Ahmanson’s teats, I’d still like to know if you repudiate his extremist views.

(OK, we’ll scratch this one, since you seem to recognize that Ahmanson is a nutter and have repudiated his nuttiness – I look forward to your helping OTHER IDers repudiate his nuttiness too. Although I am rather curious as to why, do you think, Ahmanson funds DI, and why, do you think, DI takes his money?)

5. Why are you undermining your own side by proclaiming here that ID is all about defeating “atheism” and “anti-religion”, while your side is desperately trying to argue in court that ID has nothing at all whatsoever to do with religion or religious apologetics? Are your fellow IDers just lying under oath when they testify to that, Sal?

6. What did the designer do, specifically. What mechanisms did it use to do whatever the heck you think it did. Where can we see it using these mechanisms today to do … well … anything.

7. Hey Sal (or whoever you are), IDers keep telling us that ID is science and not just fundamentalist Christian apologetics.

Given that, why is it that IDEA Clubs only allow Christians to serve as officers? Why aren’t Muslims or Raelians or Jews who accept ID allowed to serve as IDEA Club officers?

Is there a legitimate scientific reason for that, or is it just plain old-fashioned religious bigotry we are seeing?

8. Hey Sal (or whoever you are), the Templeton Foundation says that it asked IDers to submit ideas for scientific research projects into ID that it could fund —— and no one submitted any.

Why is that? Is it because IDers are far more interested in using political methods to push their religious opinions into school classrooms than they are in doing any actual “scientific research”?

9. Gee, Sal (or whoever you are) I can’t think of any scientific advance made in any area of science at any time in the past 25 years as the result of ID “research”. Why is that?

10. How many peer-reviewed scientific papers have there been centering around ID “research”? (I mean the ones that were NOT later withdrawn by the journal on the grounds that they were published fraudulently). None? Why is that?

11. Why is it that leading DI luminaries (such as the, uh, Isaac Newton of Information Theory) never get invited to scientific symposia on Information Theory or Quantum Mechanics? Surely if ID were at the cutting edge of scientific research in these fields, professionals in the field would be dying to hear about it, right? And yet IDers are ignored in these fields. Why is that?

12. Why is it that IDers prefer to “debate” in front of church audiences and college Christian student groups, but not in front of scientific conferences or peer-reviewed science journals?

13. Hey Sal, why is it that all of DI’s funding comes from fundamentalist Christian political groups and Reconstructionist nutjobs?

14. Why is it that the Templeton Foundation, which focuses on issues of science and religion (right up ID’s alley, eh?) won’t fund DI?

15. Hey Sal (or whoever you are), your pal Luskin told the press that there was a positive scientific theory of ID that was NOT based solely on negative arguments against evolution.

Why is it that you are quite unable to come up with any?

Or was Luskin just BS’ing everyone when he made that claim?

16. > I don’t want ID or creation science taught in Public Schools nor college science classes.

Why not?

Please be as specific as possible.

17. >The scientific theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and life are best explained by an intelligent cause.

Explained how. How does ID “explain” anything. other than “something intelligent did, uh, something intelligent”.

18. >Intelligent design is an interpretation of a fundamental physical law known as quantum mechanics.

What interpretation.

And why do quantum physicists think ID is full of crap?

19. >It it testable in 2 ways:

WHAT, specifically, is testable? How do you propose to test :”something intelligent did, uh, something intelligent”?

20. >1. When a designer is available to participate, such as a gene enegineering company we can test it directly such as in the case of www.genetic-id.com

Glad to hear it. Is the Intelligent Designer available to participate, or isn’t it, and how can we tell.

21. >2. In the abesense of having a designer present, we can apply simlar tests but will not be able to obviously get direct observational evidence. However this is still consistent with accepted practice in Forensic science.

Glad to hear it. Is the Intelligent Designer available to participate, or isn’t it, and how can we tell.

22. >An objective criteria would be something like the blueprints for genetically engineered food.

Great. Can you show me, please, the blueprint for anything that you think your Intelligent Designer designed — the bacterial flagellum, the blood clotting system, etc etc etc?

Then can you show me how this blueprint is implemented by the Designer?

23. > www.genetic-id.com gives examples of how design is detected.

Why is it that genetic engineers, like other scientists, think ID is full of crap, then?

24. >If you think that ID applies only to “God made” designs, it only shows your misunderstandings of the theory

Really. So the design of life wasn’t done by God?

Interesting.

Was it space aliens?

25. >The issues you bring up are creationist issues, not ID
issues.

But you ARE a creationist, aren’t you.

If not, then I am curious — what were you before ID appeared on the scene in 1987?

26. >No alternative is better than a wrong alternative.

Uh, I thought ID **was** the “alternative” … ?

Are you now telling me that it’s NOT an “alternative”? After all DI’s arm-waving about its “alternative scientific theory” and its “positive scientific theory that does not depend solely on negative arguments against evolution”, are you NOW telling me that DI is just BSing us when they say that, and they really DON’T have any “alternative scientific theory” after all?

27. Hey Sal (or whoever you are), if there is no such alternative as “intelligent design theory”, then, uh, why does the Intelligent Design movement call itself the, uh, “Intelligent Design movement? Why name yourselves after something that doesn’t exist? Why not call yourselves a more accurate name? I, personally, like the one offered by your pal Paul Nelson — The Fundamentally Religious and Scientifically Misbegotten Objections to Evolution Movement” (FRASMOTEM for short). It’s lots more accurate than “intelligent design”, particularly since, as you NOW seem to be saying, there simply IS NO scientific theory of design….

28. >We do not see the Designer of life in opreation today as far as I know

Why not? Did it climb back aboard its flying saucer and go home?

Are you seriously suggesting that God doesn’t intervene in the modern world? Do your fellow fundies know that you are telling everyone that God no longer does anything?

29. > we postulate a Designer operated in the past.

Convenient for you, isn’t it.

So tell me, when did it stop operating.

And how can you tell.

30. >Perhaps it doesn’t fit your definition of a theory.

Perhaps you prefer Behe’s definition of “scientific theory”, which places astrology alongside ID?

But now you’ve raised another interesting point — if ID really is “science”, then why exactly do IDers find it necessary to change, through legislative fiat, the definition of “science” to make ID fit?

31. >Hey Flanky boy, the above equation from physics is the basis for ID theory.

Reeeaaallllyyyyyyy.

Would you mind underlining the term in this equation that represents the Intelligent Designer?

Thanks.

32. BTW, what observer do you think collapses the Designer’s wavefunction and, uh, brings it into existence?

Wigner’s Superfriend?

Comment #95334

Posted by Andrea Bottaro on April 7, 2006 7:58 AM (e)

I am sorry, but Sal just should not be let off so easily. The hypothetical situation discussed in the thread was:

Hypothetically, if Pianka has indeed expressed glee at the prospects of Humanity’s mass death, what follows? What should the consequences be? Is it something to be ignored as innocent fun? Is it something that demands minor correction? Major correction? Other options?

This was something the thread author himself characterized as :

a case of an insulated University professor taking part in some innocent fun without fully recognizing the severity of his comments

Completely outside the context of that hypothetical, Sal decided to spew the usual bile promoted by the Mims-Dembski-DI triad, comparing Pianka to Himmler and bin Laden, who clearly are mass murderers and not just engaged in speech that glorifies or dismisses human death.

For once, Sal, be a man take responsibility for your mistakes. Apologize to Pianka, make sure you remember to take what you are told by the DI and “uncle Bill” with a giant does of skepticism the next time, and move on. We understand that, besides being a willing megaphone, you are a victim of Creationist propaganda too.

Comment #95337

Posted by DJ on April 7, 2006 8:25 AM (e)

Obviously Dembski was “engaging in a little street theater.”

And Sal was just playing along.

Comment #95338

Posted by Raging Bee on April 7, 2006 8:33 AM (e)

Salvador: your defense is not sufficient. Many cowardly demagogues and hatemongers disguise their insinuations as “hypothetical questions” (as in “If Salvador turns out to be a pedophile, what follows?”). The purpose of this is to plant the idea in people’s heads that the “hypothetical” is a valid topic of debate precisely because some other people have alleged it as true, which means they must have some reason to believe it’s true, which is why we have to ask ourselves “what follows?” Stands to reason, don’t it?

No, you didn’t actually accuse anyone of anything; you just tried to accomplish the same objective by more cowardly means. Plausible deniability does not make you a better man.

Comment #95342

Posted by AD on April 7, 2006 8:57 AM (e)

Hypothetically speaking, what if Salvador were a lying sack of dung who is hiding behind semantic technicalities in order to unjustifiably assassinate the character of someone who is far more morally upstanding than he?

Comment #95343

Posted by k.e. on April 7, 2006 9:16 AM (e)

Sal…Sal…Sal
You just can’t take a trick can you?
Gee I thought after your last debacle here, would have been enough (remember that),
and now you have to eat another sh*t sandwich.
Get a new change of clothes and go chase those hot girls you are rounding up at your ID clubs or do you prefer older women? Maybe you are hanging round with the wrong crowd, I mean those Fundy girls would give me the hives as well, find yourself a nice evolutionist who doesn’t go for that Fundy nonsense and if she asks DON’T TELL. Bwhhahahahahah

Comment #95353

Posted by Leon on April 7, 2006 10:30 AM (e)

Again, let me know if anyone apologizes and retracts their remarks. I know of but one.

Well, gotta hand it to The Sanity Inspector. Admitting you’ve made a mistake and publicly apologizing for it shows a healthy dose of intellectual integrity. That was a breath of fresh air this morning.

Comment #95355

Posted by Russell on April 7, 2006 10:32 AM (e)

What if, just hypothetically speaking, some academic were misquoted and smeared by a concerted campaign of political fanatics. Then, just hypothetically of course, this academic received death threats, harassing nuisance reports to the FBI, DHS, etc. Now, just for the sake of argument, of course, and purely hypothetically, suppose one of the participants in the smear campaign had a vestigial conscience, and became aware that the smear campaign was, in fact, based on lies and irresponsibly exaggerated urban legends.

Now, just hypothetically of course, imagine that this individual’s contributions to the smear campaign were quoted in a way that he thought was unfair. Do you suppose - just hypothetically, of course - that individual would take the opportunity to deplore the much greater injustice being done to the object of the smear campaign, or do you suppose he would just complain about being shown in a bad light?

Just hypothetically, of course.

Comment #95356

Posted by Stephen Elliott on April 7, 2006 10:37 AM (e)

Is poor old Salvador being missrepresented?

That is a shame! What has he ever done to deserve that?

Nobody in the ID crowd would ever lie about someone to further their position!

We al know them as honest hard-working guys, carrying out scientific research to further the cause of ID.

They are in a difficult position. It must be hard to honestly fight against our corrupt, lying, imoral conspiracy.

Cut them some slack people. /sarcasm.

Comment #95359

Posted by steve s on April 7, 2006 10:43 AM (e)

Well, gotta hand it to The Sanity Inspector. Admitting you’ve made a mistake and publicly apologizing for it shows a healthy dose of intellectual integrity. That was a breath of fresh air this morning.

I second that. The Sanity Inspector’s commendable admission stands in stark contrast to the actions of Davetard and the truly reprenensible Dembski.

Comment #95368

Posted by AnotherLurker on April 7, 2006 11:38 AM (e)

You know, the real irony in all this is that this supposed expression of delight at the prospect of a mass human die-off is basically what I hear rather regularly from the Rapture-fixated crowd on the other side of this debate, but I don’t see anyone reporting any of those loons to Homeland Security on the basis that one of them might “get it into his head to try to make the Apocalypse happen.”

Comment #95372

Posted by AD on April 7, 2006 12:24 PM (e)

You know, the real irony in all this is that this supposed expression of delight at the prospect of a mass human die-off is basically what I hear rather regularly from the Rapture-fixated crowd on the other side of this debate, but I don’t see anyone reporting any of those loons to Homeland Security on the basis that one of them might “get it into his head to try to make the Apocalypse happen.”

This is the upside to ID theory being completely untestable and useless. They can’t actually do anything with it!

Comment #95376

Posted by Bruce Thompson GQ on April 7, 2006 1:24 PM (e)

What does this have to do with Intelligent design? “The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection”(1). ID says nothing about major population shifts and extinction events, only the generation of biological complexity. Extinction events and/or major population reductions leading to the opening ecological niches is an evolutionary idea.

The fact that this Brouhaha starts with Mims, is picked up by Dembski (2) who fans the flames, and is continued by DI institute (3) constitutes a correlation. Since both Mims and Dembski are DI fellows and ID has nothing to do with the types of events Pianka discussed, suggests there is also a causal relationship. This attempt to inflate an issue in the scientific arena is consistent with the media approach to science characteristic of the DI.

We do have one piece of data that suggests Piankas detractors may have some grounds for criticism, Pinka does not have a green beard.

1. www.discovery.org/csc/topQuestions.php
2. www.uncommondescent.com/index.php/archives/982
3. www.evolutionnews.org/2006/04/eric_pianka_disease_will_contr.html#more

Delta Pi Gamma (Scientia et Fermentum)

Comment #95385

Posted by Gorbe on April 7, 2006 3:13 PM (e)

He recommended airborne Ebola as an ideal killing virus,” Mims said. “He showed slides of the Four Horsemen of the apocalypse and human skulls. He joked about requiring universal sterilization. It reminded me of a futuristic science fiction movie with a crazed scientist planning the death of humanity.”

I wonder if Mims gets worked up by fundamentalists who advocate belief in a God who destroyed all of humanity (including children & infants), save one redeemable family; the same God who is going to bring about the horrific scenario depicted in the Book of Revelations. Imagine a group of fundamentalist in positions of power, eager to usher in Jesus’ eternal Kingdom. Where is Mim’s outrage over this?

Comment #95387

Posted by Gorbe on April 7, 2006 3:16 PM (e)

Meanwhile, 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.

That pales by comparison to the fundamentalist Christian belief that most of humanity ever born is going to suffer agonizing gnashing pain in the fires of hell forever. If ever there was an example of mental compartmentalization and selective outrage.

Comment #95490

Posted by Kevin P on April 8, 2006 4:11 AM (e)

Just a comment about the bit about J.S. Mill…

If by “stationary world” we mean no economic growth, then that would bode poorly for the poor majority of the world. (I don’t think even a reshuffling of current wealth, minus handling fees, would be a sufficient consolation.)

Comment #103588

Posted by Betsy Markum on June 2, 2006 5:00 PM (e)

I can’t believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $82211. Isn’t that crazy!