[Coral-List] What agency should list corals

Pedro H. Rodríguez phernanrod at yahoo.com
Tue Apr 2 09:59:54 EDT 2013

I was keenly waiting for a social scientist to point to the many imprecisions that have been posted lately on this list. Kudos for doing so. Sadly, in some academic circles a single discipline still professes to hold the truth, and this evidently happens in coral reef research also. If some of those with narrow views would make an effort to truly understand the work of social and economic scientists, we would come closer to understanding the complexities of the social-ecological systems that are coral reefs.


From: Christopher Hawkins <chwkins at yahoo.com>
To: "coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov" <coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov> 
Sent: Monday, April 1, 2013 3:33 PM
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] What agency should list corals


It is disappointing to see some seemingly very intelligent folks post some of these remarks.

I have participated in a number of natural resource social science forums as well, so a I am quite confused with the statements made in this string of emails.

I will re-iterate that whether you are biological scientist or a social scientist, you are a *scientist*, and therefore (typically) interested in understanding the phenomena in a reliable, valid, representative, and generalizable way. As a human dimensions specialist, I am charged with making sure that society's perceptions, preferences, attitudes, values etc. are brought into policy-making in a rigorous and objective way. I am not sure how that all of a sudden becomes me ignoring that there are "very real limits to the level at which the natural systems and resources can be impacted before the living resource and/or system ceases to function in a normal way, if at all.  Of course there are, and every social scientist worthy of the title would agree. Throwing that statement  out there re-enforces a misguided stereotype and confuses one profession with another. For what purpose, I'm not sure.. 

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