[Coral-List] Value of Hawaiian Reefs - why cant we all just get along? :-)
chwkins at yahoo.com
Fri Nov 18 18:52:53 EST 2011
Peter's post summed it up nicely. In the spirit of getting us all to a point of interdisciplinary respect and cooperation, I'd add this:
I am happy to provide Gene and others who broadly criticize all surveys and survey approaches as self-serving with a number of very objective questionnaires that I and my colleagues have been involved with. The history of good human dimensions work in the natural resource management realm stretches back decades now. In that time many very intelligent folks in academia and elsewhere have worked to provide resource management agencies with objective information on which to base policy decisions.
I am afraid that Gene's claim to "have seldom seen a questionnaire type survey that was not self-serving" is either exaggerated or is simply based on very limited exposure to quality research.
Social science, like all science, has limitations, and they are often imposed by funding. But, at the end of the day I am just as concerned about representativeness, reliability, validity, and generalizability as my friends across the aisle. If we want to having a discussion about those four attributes of the scientific method, plus analytical rigor, I'd be happy to point out that many theses, dissertations, and general biological studies rely on only a handful of observations (e.g., 30 fish in an estuary) but then go on to make some rather sweeping generalizations about all fish in that estuary. Remember, I don't have to do power analyses, bootstrapping, or psuedoreplication to run statistical analyses. I typically have hundreds of representative and randomly drawn cases from which to work....
--- On Fri, 11/18/11, Peter Edwards <horlicks_1989 at yahoo.com> wrote:
From: Peter Edwards <horlicks_1989 at yahoo.com>
Subject: [Coral-List] Value of Hawaiian Reefs - why cant we all just get along? :-)
To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov>
Date: Friday, November 18, 2011, 3:43 PM
I will try not to be-labor the point, and I am pretty sure that the
"pure" coral reef biologists, oceanographers, et al will soon chime in
to let us know this topic is not "science-y" enough. And that all this
nonsense about people's preferences, values etc has little or nothing to do with coral reefs (chuckle).
But to I'd like to refer to Gene's last email and others of a similar "strain"....
There will always be debate among and within disciplines. This should be
encouraged as different points of view help to move science and human
knowledge forward. However I believe that we will continue to witness
the decline of precious and "invaluable" resources such as coral reefs, mangrove forests, sea
grass beds etc if we continue to remain entrenched in our camps.
Dismissive comments and generalizations about a discipline that people
may have little understanding about is not helpful. If we (natural and
social) scientists learned to "speak" to each other perhaps we would be
more successful at finding solutions to conservation. Again I am
speaking as an individual who has come from a foundation of biology,
coral reef ecology who recognized the need for integrating social
sciences including neo-classical micro economic theory as part of my
tool-kit. This has helped me better understand issues of efficient
allocation of resources and open my eyes to possible solutions for
reducing pollution and environmental degradation.
I get the strong sense from some of the comments that there is the
suspicion that by conducting these types of studies the results will be
"hijacked" by business interests who want to privatize, sell off, steal
these resources. Well I am sorry to say...."News
Flash...this just in"...it is already happening. What this discipline
and these approaches try to do is find solutions to ensure that these
resources get the respect they deserve and are not completely
obliterated from the planet. Message: WE ARE ON THE SAME TEAM!!!
I urge some of you with deeply ingrained philosophical biases to try to
be a little more open minded and read a little wider. Instead of just
cherry picking articles against this discipline, look for some balanced
articles. There are indeed pros and cons to these approaches. I would
hate to think that scientists such as ourselves are just as entrenched
as the political and religious extremists you know that anti-anything-we don't understand-
folks that seem to dominate the news and political discourse these days.
The views and comments expressed here do not reflect the official position of any organization I may be employed to or affiliated with
Date: Fri, 18 Nov 2011 11:24:16 -0500
From: Eugene Shinn <eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Subject: [Coral-List] $33B Hawaii Reef Economics Value
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii" ; format="flowed"
Robert, Thank you for exposing the devious nature of the, "Total
Economic Value for Protecting and Restoring Hawaiian Coral Reef
Ecosystems" survey that came up with an outrageous $33.5B per year
value of Hawaiian coral reefs. You did a great job of showing the
problems, flaws, and exaggerations. In my long career I have seldom
seen a questionnaire type survey that was not self-serving. I like to
call them, "when did you stop beating your wife" surveys that imply
you have been beating your wife (or dog). Agencies that do these
surveys decide what they want to do then ask questions about various
options and ways to accomplish the thing they want. They never ask
the basic question, Is the thing or action they want necessary in
the first place? They are usually all about expanding the agency and
squeezing more funding (our money) out of Congress.
I suppose they know how poorly educated the vast majority really
is (especially in science) and realize they can pull the wool over
their eyes. You clearly exposed this attitude in your posting. These
days agencies often have covert help from tax exempt Non Government
Foundations (NGOs) that are very good at getting press coverage,
influencing congress, and squeezing tax exempt donations from those
having expendable money or in need of the tax breaks they provide.
Gene PS: I could not help noticing posting number 3 that starts with:
"Seeking a Natural Resource Social Scientist to support the National
Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Center for Coastal Monitoring
and Assessment (CCMA), Biogeography Branch. (note key words, "Social
No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eshinn at marine.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158----------------------------------
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