Saturday, April 08, 2006


Tellic Thoughts Retracts Pianka Accusations

Red State Rabble is often very hard on intelligent design activists. In particular, we have been critical of the slander of University of Texas ecologist Dr. Eric Pianka by creationist Forrest Mims, William Dembski, and the Discovery Institute, all of whom have accused Dr. Pianka of plotting to kill 90 percent of the worlds population with a strain -- as yet undiscovered -- of the Ebola virus.

Dembski, by his own admission, went so far as to report Dr. Pianka as a terrorist to the Department of Homeland Security.

Today, the story is starting to go south on the intelligent design activists who promoted it. Where just a few days ago accusations that might have given pause to the editors of the tabloid National Enquirer were pumping up the volume in the wingnut echo chamber, an eerie silence now prevails.

That is, with one exception. Virtually alone among those who once trumpeted the false charges against Dr. Pianka, Tellic Thoughts, an independent blog about intelligent design has retracted their earlier reports:

Since then, a partial transcript of the speech has come out. While the transcript does support some of Mims’s account, and shows that Dr. Pianka’s speech was a mixture of some rather extreme ideology and science, it fails to support the most egregious accusation. Because of this, and because of the nature of the accusation, we feel forced to conclude that Mims’s report is premised on a terrible misunderstanding and misjudgment.

We do feel sympathy for Dr. Pianka for all the stress, accusations, and vicious labels he has had to endure because of this story. It’s hard to imagine what it would feel like to have thousands of people accusing you of advocating genocide. We do not feel any sympathy for those who reported Dr. Pianka to the Department for Homeland Security or those who sent him death threats.

The next time the media circulates an accusation that has the potential to do serious real-world harm to a person’s reputation, we promise to treat such accounts with extreme skepticism and caution.

Since we have been critical of those who pushed this false story, RSR feels its important to give credit to this one source that had the courage to admit they were wrong and correct the record.


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