[Coral-List] Gene Shinn's post of Walter Stark's article.

Michael Risk riskmj at mcmaster.ca
Fri Oct 26 14:57:41 EDT 2012

Hello Peter, listers.

Stark's piece did make sort of amusing reading, although one cringes with embarrassment at meeting statements like "reefs vary", duh. On the other hand, it was raining, and I had time on my hands.

But you bring up an important point. There are people out there who really believe we get rich from research grants. I think we could do a better job educating the public on this aspect (and many others). In most countries, the PI gets NO income. There is salary money for PDF's and grad students, but the levels are always capped. In the US, PI's can get "summer salary", an ancient holdover the universities have been in no hurry to update.

So we need to be up front about the amounts involved. No one gets rich doing ecological research.

On 2012-10-25, at 2:15 PM, Peter Sale wrote:

> Listers,
> Gene Shinn is only the messenger here, but cluttering up coral-list with 
> pseudo-science is not helpful.  Walter Stark did indeed gain a PhD from U 
> Miami.  He quickly ceased doing science, and found fame and fortune 
> outside of science however, and his critique of the De'ath et al paper in 
> PNAS hardly constitutes an example of how science should be done.  Apart 
> from linking to the article in PNAS, his post is one unsubstantiated claim 
> after another, along with the now familiar suggestion that scientists 
> report their findings in order to secure lucrative research grants.  (It 
> used to be only climate scientists that were accused of doing this, but 
> now coral reef scientists appear also to be so accused).
> I'd far rather see adverts for academic jobs only tangentially linked to 
> coral reef science on coral list, and even the occasionally testy argument 
> among scientists, than posts which link us to the likes of Stark's 
> article.
> Gene, your messages are often contrarian, but usually they cause us to 
> think.  That's good.  But this one caused me to waste time reading 
> something that brings no credit to its author, Walter Stark.
> Peter Sale
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> Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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Michael Risk
riskmj at mcmaster.ca

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