[Coral-List] political arguments on coral-list

Nicole Crane nicrane at cabrillo.edu
Tue May 20 10:18:09 EDT 2014

The bigger problem really lies in the fact that we are indeed losing the 
battles, and likely the war, for the simple reason that we are not 
trained to fight (so to speak).  If you are waging a battle (to carry on 
the analogy here), you need soldiers.  I think this is partly due to the 
kind of people who are attracted to the field of science.  In this 
battle, it seems that in your face, loud, repeated "yelling", along with 
getting ourselves on many talk shows and in political arenas is what is 
needed.  Not sure about you all, but few of 'us' seem the type for 
this.  It might be time to address this in our academic (teaching) 
environment.  Perhaps our curriculum needs some direct aspects of the 
political (and environmental) battle that is very real. Not that we 
should push an ideology, but that we should push the importance of 
educating the public about the facts, and nudging them to action.

Back to the discussion here - I guess I do value some political 
discussion, since it is so very central to many of our work.  True - an 
ideological battle is not useful though.


On 5/20/14, 6:32 AM, Michael Risk wrote:
> Hello Doug.
> This is a slope of incredible slipperiness. I think I see where you are going here-you would like this forum to be restricted to discussion of coral reefs. This is all good and proper.
> On the other hand, it is incumbent on all of us to recognize that globally, coral reefs are perhaps 50 years from extinction. It is therefore important to consider all of the factors impinging upon this, many of which are political.
> I see Gene telling us that scientific results are often not as objective as we would like to believe, but are coloured by the preconceptions of the operator. This is quite true, and something that our social science friends have been trying to tell us for a generation. I see Gene urging us to keep an open mind and read the peer-reviewed sections of the NIPCC report. Nothing wrong there.
> The larger concern here is not the stifling of annoying people (not that Gene could ever be annoying), but the realization that we scientists have lost most of the battles and are in danger of losing the war.
> Mike
> On May 19, 2014, at 5:42 PM, Douglas Fenner <douglasfennertassi at gmail.com> wrote:
>> Coral-listers,
>>      Below you can read two recent postings by Gene Shinn.  The most recent
>> talks more about ideology and religion than about the climate change
>> argument.  The previous one appears to be completely about politics, I
>> couldn't find a mention of coral reefs.
>>       If I think Gene is spreading things that aren't true, I think it is
>> incumbent on someone to respond to his assertions, or else he gets to
>> spread things that appear to be untrue, unchallenged.  (Same goes for me,
>> by the way)  If no one else will respond, I feel I must.   Gene has a
>> history of posts on geology of coral reefs or other aspects of reefs, and
>> posts that argue about climate change and politics.  I appreciate his
>> geology and reef posts, I learn from them, I thank Gene for them.  I think
>> they are totally appropriate for coral-list.
>>        The question is, do coral-listers want to see lots of messages
>> arguing about politics?
>>        What do people think, is coral-list the best place to argue over
>> Gene's political views?  Or would "coral reef free-for-all" be better, or
>> perhaps a political discussion list-serve?  Are we here to argue politics
>> or discuss coral reefs?
>>        What do people think?
>> Gene wrote:
>> "Steve, Have you ever met a scientist that did not have an ideology? In
>> my experience with thousands of scientists both industry, government,
>> and academia, I can't recall any who did not have an ideology of one
>> sort or another be they Christians, Moslems, Buddists, Hindu, atheist,
>> etc. A scientist can always claim his or her  results are statistical
>> correct and pure but remember the scientist still decides what subject
>> to work on in the first place. It can work both ways. We both pretty
>> much know where most coral reef scientists heads are. I would not expect
>> them to read the
>> NIPCC report even thou it has a large coral reef section based on peer
>> reviewed literature. You can find that in chapter 6
>> http://climatechangereconsidered.org/  The reader should be remindned
>> that all the media buzz about the IPCC report is based on the Summary
>> for Policy Makers which was not written by the scientists who wrote the
>> IPCC report.  Gene"
>> --
>> 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
>> ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
>> "Richard asked why I had not addressed several posting. Well, one has to
>> wonder if these rants gets us anywhere? I am reminded of the following
>> lines I pirated from a recent blog. " The crisis we face is not one of
>> politics in just one sphere, that of government. Even more sinister
>> politics have long been afoot in the scientific sphere from whence this
>> whole knowing of the matter of anthropogenic carbon sprang. The world of
>> science is a most unpleasant guild-like, politically active, and
>> aggressive world. It has its warring sides and those sides have
>> territories they claim and fiercely defend." This rang a bell because I
>> have seen many hypotheses come and go. By the time one is gone few even
>> remember it.
>>      Back to one of the postings which asked, Is the Pew foundation any
>> different than the Heritige foundation? Of course its like night and
>> day. One is left wing and the other on the right. Both have lots of
>> money. You believe what you want to believe. Its like comparing Mother
>> Jones magazine to the Wall Street Journal. Take your pick. I have come
>> to believe there really are two kinds of people and it is not simply
>> Male and Female. We are wired differently from birth and yes it helps to
>> follow the money. Education seldom changes the wiring.
>> Regardless of what one might feel about Craig Idso people should
>> evaluate the papers he cited in the Heritage website I posted and stop
>> the ad hominem/kill the messenger attacks. Those were peer reviewed
>> papers. IPCC papers are peer reviewed (mainly by each other). An IPCC
>> member writer would not send his coral reef paper to Idso for review and
>> visa versa. The lines have been drawn. Gene"
>> --
>> 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
>> ---------------------------------- -----------------------------------
>> -- 
>> Douglas Fenner
>> Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
>> PO Box 7390
>> Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA
>> phone 1 684 622-7084
>> website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner
>> Blog:
>> http://cctus.org/conservation-science/2014-expedition-scholar/2014-expedition-scholar-douglas-fenner-ph-d/2014-expedition-scholar-blog/
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> Michael Risk
> riskmj at mcmaster.ca
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Nicole L. Crane
Cabrillo College
Division of Natural and Applied Sciences
nicrane at cabrillo.edu

Oceanic Society
Senior Conservation Scientist

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