The Catastrophists Ride Again

     Say, does anyone else remember Eric Pianka?

     On March 2, 3, and 4 of this year, the Texas Academy of Sciences held its annual conclave, at which it awarded a certain Eric Pianka, a biologist at the University of Texas, with its Distinguished Texas Scientist Award. Whatever Dr. Pianka’s achievements as a researcher or educator might be, they were overshadowed, for the moment at least, by his proposition that 90% of the human race must die:

     “Every one of you who gets to survive has to bury nine,” Eric Pianka cautioned students and guests at St. Edward’s University on Friday. Pianka’s words are part of what he calls his “doomsday talk” — a 45-minute presentation outlining humanity’s ecological misdeeds and Pianka’s predictions about how nature, or perhaps humans themselves, will exterminate all but a fraction of civilization.

     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.

     Indeed, his words deal, very literally, on a life-and-death scale, yet he smiles and jokes candidly throughout the lecture. Disseminating a message many would call morbid, Pianka’s warnings are centered upon awareness rather than fear.

     “This is really an exciting time,” he said Friday amid warnings of apocalypse, destruction and disease. Only minutes earlier he declared, “Death. This is what awaits us all. Death.” Reflecting on the so-called Ancient Chinese Curse, “May you live in interesting times,” he wore, surprisingly, a smile.

     So what’s at the heart of Pianka’s claim?

     6.5 billion humans is too many.

     In his estimation, “We’ve grown fat, apathetic and miserable,” all the while leaving the planet parched.

     The solution?

     A 90 percent reduction.

     That’s 5.8 billion lives — lives he says are turning the planet into “fat, human biomass.” He points to an 85 percent swell in the population during the last 25 years and insists civilization is on the brink of its downfall — likely at the hand of widespread disease.

     “[Disease] will control the scourge of humanity,” Pianka said. “We’re looking forward to a huge collapse.”

     That was an in-your-face endorsement of killing off 90% of Mankind. Pianka got a fair amount of notice out of it. Yet he was far from the first. I could name names. Sometimes I do. But for this morning, our attention will go to this…person:

     The kindest possible interpretation of McGuire’s tweet isn’t particularly kind. On the one hand: “catastrophic climate breakdown.” On the other: “culling of the human population by a pandemic with a very high fatality rate.” Do you really think McGuire hasn’t stated a preference here?

     This time around, the death cultist got his ass kicked. A few of McGuire’s fellow-travelers told him that they sympathized, they thought he’d been “misinterpreted,” but that he should delete his tweet anyway. You mustn’t wave the Cult’s flag too openly, Bill…yet.

     The sentiments of such persons are as black as the flag they wave.


     Time was, there was a lapel button, or a bumper sticker:

I Love Mankind.
It’s People I Can’t Stand.

     It was worth a chuckle, back then. Persons sporting it plainly didn’t mean it. People who really hate people are the luckiest people in the world… whoops! Apologies, Gentle Reader. I had a momentary attack of Streisand. I meant to say that they’re exceedingly rare. Even those who routinely posture as misanthropes for public purposes are nearly always going for the laughs, nothing more. Even an isolate like me is a social creature who must have some people contact to remain healthy… though it often consists solely of cursing at other motorists while embedded in Long Island traffic.

     Death Cultists aren’t like that. They’re a subcategory of Cause People. While their Cause is a little strange, they believe in it just as sincerely as the Nuke The Gay Whales For Jesus activists. Moreover, they mean to make you participate, like it or not.

     Pascal and I go on about this a bit. I’ve even compiled a few essays on the subject into a book. But we’re serious, as is the Death Cult phenomenon and those who partake in it. Dismiss them at your peril.

     That’s all for this morning. I may be back later with something more cheerful. Until then, enjoy your day. Reflect on the chagrin of Saint Matthias the Apostle whose feast day this is. While Matthias professed to be honored by being selected, he could not help but know that he had been chosen just to “make it a good Round Dozen.


    • MGuns on May 14, 2024 at 8:34 AM

    If you profess population reduction should you not set the example. Oh, I get it now; you are talking of the others. You know, the folks you consider worthless anyway. Its like convincing a person to strap on a bomb for the cause. A cause you would never die for. This guy is teaching your children and you are paying a pretty penny for his doing so. When do we stop the madness!

  1. “Overpopulation: Just Enough of Me, Way Too Many Of Thee” — P.J. O’Rourke

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