[Coral-List] Prioritizing impacts to coral reefs

Richard Plate richarp33 at gmail.com
Wed Apr 23 07:32:11 EDT 2014

Magnus, I think the short answer to your question is yes, we should
certainly be mindful of interests that might cloud anyone's judgement
regarding scientific conclusions. I would welcome more analyses (similar to
the ones posted on the Heartland Institute and Idso) if any other
organizations seem to have a history of publications expressing results
that are counter to scientific consensus and linked closely to narrow
financial interests.

However, it would be unfortunate if someone were to interpret our general
agreement as putting folks like Idso and the Heartland Institute on equal
footing with the thousands of scientists working over the span of decades
who are concerned about the impacts of climate change.  Perhaps an analogy
would help to illustrate my point.

If 97 doctors that I visit over several decades told me that a diet high in
fiber and low in fats is a healthier option, then I might begin to accept
that as a consensus.  Then, two doctors come along, working together, and
suggest a doughnut-based diet because it turns out there's a B vitamin in
the oils. They even cite sources from reputable medical journals about the
importance of B vitamins (though those reputable studies make no claims
about the positive health effects of doughnuts). None of these 99 doctors
are necessarily immune to being clouded by financial interests, but who
should I be more skeptical of?

Then, I find out that those last two doctors have been receiving large sums
of money from the Doughnut Association of America.  Should that make me
even more skeptical of them?

With world enough and time, I might look into the financial interests of
those first 97 doctors, and I might even find a few crooked ones.  But
since time is limited, I would make my decisions based on that general
consensus, at least until doctors without a history of dubious judgments
and clear financial interests start touting doughnuts as well.

I realize my analogy strays far from the topic of corals, but I suggest
that it is important for any discussion on impacts to corals be based on
good science.  I don't think the Heartland Institute or Idso meet that
standard, and I have still not heard any point to suggest otherwise.


On Tue, Apr 22, 2014 at 1:36 PM, Magnus Johnson <m.johnson at hull.ac.uk>wrote:

> Fair point Richard,
> Can we have the same degree of scepticism applied to anyone or any
> projects funded by Pew?  Follow the money.
> cheers, Magnus
> ________________________________________
> From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [
> coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] on behalf of Richard Plate [
> richarp33 at gmail.com]
> Sent: 22 April 2014 13:37
> To: Eugene Shinn
> Cc: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Prioritizing impacts to coral reefs
> Gene,
> This run of highly questionable sources you are posting to the list is
> puzzling.
> Craig Idso (the founder and Chairman of the Center for the Study of Carbon
> Dioxide and Global Change) is lead author on the NIPCC reports by the
> Heartland Institute.  I've already posted to this list about their
> questionable findings across multiple topics, and several others on the
> list have pointed out their financial ties to the fossil fuel industry.
> Here's a link to Craig Idso's other positions regarding climate change:
> http://www.co2science.org/about/position/globalwarming.php
> I'll leave it up to those curious about this source to identify for
> themselves which of Idso's claims is most egregiously unscientific. My
> favorite is the "Elevated levels of atmospheric CO2 will be a boon to the
> biosphere" claim.  (The science against that claim is explained thoroughly
> here: https://www.skepticalscience.com/carbon-fertilization-effect.html)
> Gene, since you have not directly addressed any of the several postings to
> this list that have pointed out the dubious practices and conclusions of
> the Heartland Institute, it is difficult to understand how you see that
> organization or the Center for the Study of CO2 and Global Change as
> legitimate sources.
> I am sincerely curious how you come to that conclusion.
> -Richard
> On Mon, Apr 21, 2014 at 11:41 AM, Eugene Shinn <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
> >wrote:
> > Thanks Nicole, You are probably correct. And of course now at the same
> > time we also have lion fish eating the juveniles...and a lot of fishing
> > going on for the adults. I came across this interesting document.
> > Remember I am just the messenger but the references look to be
> > legitimate. Gene
> >
> >
> http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/images/stories/papers/originals/corals_acidification.pdf
> >
> > --
> >
> >
> > 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
> > <eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
> > Tel 727 553-1158
> > ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
> >
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> >
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