[Coral-List] Approaching game over

Bill Allison allison.billiam at gmail.com
Mon Mar 26 08:02:57 EDT 2012

Hey Steve,
Greg’s parody(?) misrepresents your original message which was well within
the comprehension abilities of your coral-list audience.
Keep up the good work,

On Sun, Mar 25, 2012 at 2:18 AM, Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:

>   I envision Greg making his comments with a sardonic smile, but I accept
> the
>   provocation
>   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
>   restrained?
>    Steve
>     -----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.
>   Cheers,
>   Greg E. Challenger, M.S.
>   Principal Marine Scientist
>   Polaris Applied Sciences, Incorporated
>   12525 131st Ct NE Kirkland, WA 98034
>   425-823-4841
>   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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>   > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
>   > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> References
>   1. http://www.polarisappliedsciences.com/
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"... the earth is, always has been, and always will be more beautiful than
it is useful."
William Ophuls, 1977. The Politics of Scarcity

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