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0 comments | Friday, April 07, 2006

One of the Eric Pianka speeches that caused the recent controversy is now online. I didn't get from it that this is a man who wants 90% of the human race to die. What I thought he was saying is that humans are and have been overpopulated for sometime, and that this overpopulation has caused/is causing a myriad of problems. He definitely strongly advocates population control, but I don't think he advocates the death of 90% of all people. When he makes the comment about each one of you burying nine others, he certainly does not seem sufficiently dismayed; but does this add up to advocating the 90% death that has been alleged? I don't think so. I think this is a man obsessed with a drastic reduction in human population, which probably blurs his morals on this issue; but I don't think he's necessarily embracing this scenario as an ideal future.

I used to be a deep ecologist and think somewhat closely to Pianka's views, but from reading his lecture it's simple to see how narrow his worldview is. I don't think it's particularly productive to summarize the history of the human race as being about the destruction and killing off of other species, and the natural environment. These things have certainly happened to a great extent and we should strive to stop doing them; but fortunately or unfortunately I've accepted that humans are wedded to this thing called civilization, and unless one chooses to be a survivalist or join a hunter-gatherer tribe, humanity's fate is entwined with the future of civilization. Pianka seems to think that the only future for civilization is one with billions fewer of us on the planet, which is the argument I understand him to be making; not the one which sees him advocating the death of 90% of the human race. So, unless I see some new evidence to change my perspective, I think he's basically sane and making a rational argument; albeit one that is probably extremely distasteful to a great many people.

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