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Statement From Forrest Mims, Letters From UT's Dr. Kenneth Summy
Support for Mims on Dr. "Doom" Speech

April 12, 2006 -- The Pearcey Report has obtained new statements by Forrest Mims and Dr. Kennth R. Summy (biology, University of Texas -- Pan American) regarding the controversial "Doomsday" speech by Dr. Eric Pianka March 3.  As the statements indicate, Mims stands by his original Pianka story in The Citizen Scientist, and Dr. Summy, who states he was present at the March 3 Pianka speech, says, "Mims did not misrepresent anything regarding the content of the keynote address."  Additional analysis of this issue is available from James Redford, who has written "Forrest Mims Did Not Misrepresent Prof. Eric Pianka's Statements."

What follows are, first, a statement by Forrest Mims, and then, two letters from Dr. Summy:

Statement by Forrest Mims
Dr. Kenneth R. Summy attended the Texas Academy of Science speech by Professor Eric Pianka that has been the subject of considerable controversy.  I fully stand by my account of that speech.
 
Dr. Summy sent an unsolicited letter of support to the President and the Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Science that specifically states I did not misrepresent anything regarding Pianka's keynote address. Unsolicited letters of support from other scientists and a grad student have also arrived. Dr. Summy's letter is below. 
 
Forrest M. Mims III
www.forrestmims.org
www.sunandsky.org
Geronimo Creek Observatory
 

Letter From Dr. Kenneth R. Summy
To Texas Academy of Science Leadership


Subj:Petition
Date:4/10/2006 1:49:37 PM Central Standard Time
To: [President and Board of Directors of the Texas Academy of Science]
 
Attached is a response I sent to Dr. Kathryn Perez regarding the allegation that Forrest Mims misrepresented the content of the keynote address at the recent TAS meeting.  A lot of the cc’s listed in Dr. Perez’s original message failed to get through, so I am resending.
 
Forrest Mims did not misrepresent anything regarding the contents of the keynote address, and should be commended for openly expressing his concerns -- many of us out here feel exactly the same way.     
 
Hope these comments are helpful.
 
Dr. Kenneth R. Summy
Department of Biology
University of Texas – Pan American 


Letter From Kenneth R. Summy
To Dr. Kathryn Perez (Biology, UNC)
 
Dear Dr. Perez:
 
I attended the presentation given by Dr. Eric Pianka at the recent TAS meeting in Beaumont.  While academic freedom is fine, distinguished scientists delivering keynote addresses at scientific meetings have a responsibility to their audience (and the society they are representing) to do so in a manner that is not unduly offensive to anyone present.  My overall impression of Dr. Pianka’s presentation was a “doomsday” message that life on earth is about to end, and the sooner the human population crashes the better.  I hope he was joking or being sarcastic when he stated that a pandemic of ebola virus would be great for the earth – no sane person would really believe that.  Also, at least two statements made during the presentation essentially constituted a direct attack on a major religious leader (the Pope), which was completely uncalled for.  Dr. Pianka chose to deliver an inflammatory message in his keynote address, so he should not be surprised to be the recipient of a lot of criticism from TAS membership. 
 
Forrest Mims did not misrepresent anything regarding the presentation.  I heard these statements myself, and would be willing to bet that most of the audience attending the presentation got the same impression that I did.  In my opinion, the message contained in the keynote address detracted from what was otherwise an excellent meeting.
  
Thanks for your time.
 
Dr. Kenneth R. Summy
Department of Biology
University of Texas – Pan American


 

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