[Coral-List] Approaching game over

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 24 17:18:46 EDT 2012

   I envision Greg making his comments with a sardonic smile, but I accept the
   in good humor.  Here is a revised and edited version designed to meet his
   standards for
   general consumption. (Feel free to dissect and/or ridicule).
   Sarah's comments came under attack for being expressed in exaggerated form,
   but I found
   them appropriate because she was not appealing to political leaders or
   decision makers,
   after all sheâs hardly a Super Pac. In my view, she was just trying to issue
   a wake up call to
   her fellow scientists in a desperate attempt to increase awareness of the
   fact that if they
   don't become more vocal in opposition to this country's current energy
   policy, our coral reefs
   will likely be doomed.
   Scientists,  by  their  very nature and to their great credit, exhibit
   restraint and attempt to maintain
   total objectivity until they have thoroughly tested a hypothesis and are
   absolutely certain that
   their conclusions have been adequately validated.  However, there have been
   examples in the
   past  (determining the effects of tobacco products comes to mind) that
   illustrate that sometimes
   absolute  scientific  truths  become  obvious early on and waiting for
   uncontested verification has
   proven unnecessary. In fact, it could be argued that needless delay can
   allow further undesirable
   complications to set in. Climate change may yet offer another example of an
   issue that calls for
   a more expeditious or accelerated response.
   Now, although we don't want to resort to hyperbole, if we just continue to
   sit back quietly and allow
   all these vicious attacks on scientific integrity to continue, it begins to
   look like we can't defend
   ourselves  against those who believe that scientific knowledge poses a
   threat. We even have
   politicians in leadership positions who promote the idea that climate change
   is âThe Greatest Hoaxâ
   and that only a supreme being is capable of affecting the climate and other
   unfathomable forces
   that exist in the natural world.
   The latest decision to fast track a portion of a pipeline carrying fossil
   fuels from Oklahoma to Texas
   may not be the proverbial "final nail" in the coffin of the world's coral
   reefs, but it seems that weâre
   getting frighteningly close to that end.
   So the question arises, under these conditions, are concerned scientists
   justified in becoming more
   aggressive or are they somehow restricted by their vows to remain muted and

     -----Original Message-----
     From: Greg Challenger
     Sent: Mar 23, 2012 2:22 PM
     To: sealab at earthlink.net, coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
     Subject: RE: [Coral-List] Approaching game over

   I like Steve's message.  If I may take liberty to summarize below:

     "To rile constituency beset with quietude rather than a scientific ethos
   restrained by a search for certitude with exacerbating repercussions of
   placidity  and  nonintervention,  coupled with reticent posturing that
   encourages pernicious demagoguery and persistence of muted facts."

   Wow!  I wish I could write like that.  However, this sort of message could
   be missed by 99% of the american public (being generous to the american
   public)......at least that's my excuse for writing at the 7th grade level!
   If there is an online Steve Mussman writing course sign me up.

   Greg E. Challenger, M.S.
   Principal Marine Scientist
   Polaris Applied Sciences, Incorporated
   12525 131st Ct NE Kirkland, WA 98034
   425-823-3805 fx
   206-369-5686 cell
   visit us at: [1]www.polarisappliedsciences.com

   > Date: Thu, 22 Mar 2012 10:20:30 -0400
   > From: sealab at earthlink.net
   > To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
   > Subject: [Coral-List] Approaching game over
   > Perhaps it was the objective of the original message in this
   > thread that was misconstrued. The use of âextreme hyperboleâ
   > may not be a viable strategy when dealing with decision makers,
   > but if the intent was to rile a particular constituency which
   > has been beset with inaction and quietude, then it may well
   > have been justified.
   > There is historical precedent that begs the argument that
   > although well intended, the cautious nature of the scientific
   > ethos restrained by its search for certitude can inadvertently
   > delay the implementation of critical policies effectively
   >  exacerbating  the  repercussions. If ever there existed a condition
   exemplifying this concern, it may well involve the implications
   > climate change holds for coral reefs and mankind in general. If
   > the scientific community collectively holds any remorse for previous
   > displays of placidity and nonintervention in the face of similar
   > challenges then herein lies an opportunity for redemption.
   > Concerns relating to overstatements are understandable, but
   > quiescence in the face of the latest in a series of relentless
   > attacks on science could ultimately lead to our undoing. Such
   > reticent posturing only seems to be encouraging the pernicious
   > nature of the demagoguery targeting both scientific motives and
   > methodology. The unfortunate reality is that we are living in a
   > world where powerful elected officials promote books claiming that
   > climate change is "The Greatest Hoax" - while simultaneously
   > the indisputable scientific evidence continues to mount. These
   > are the dynamics at play among the decision makers who will call
   > you to testify.
   > Although it may be true that the authorization of the southern
   > portion of the Keystone pipeline in and of itself does not signal
   > game over, how much longer do you believe we can continue down this
   > path armed only with muted facts and restraint before these tactics
   > prove fatal?
   > Regards,
   > Steve
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   1. http://www.polarisappliedsciences.com/

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