[Coral-List] political arguments on coral-list

Douglas Fenner douglasfennertassi at gmail.com
Thu May 22 15:33:04 EDT 2014

Yes, and the geological record includes mass extinctions. They come, and
they go.  Species evolve and go extinct.  All very interesting, but as
scientists we must be neutral.  So humans are now driving species to
extinction about as fast or faster than in one of the great mass
extinctions.  Coral reefs come and go, there are periods when not only is
coral cover low, but there are NO reefs in the fossil record.  Veron has
cogently assembled the information that points to oceans being chemically
poisonous at times.  So what?  It will come and go, over the millions of
   The "so what" is that people, including you and I, live in the now.  If
90% of corals die, if 90% of species go extinct, or if reefs totally
disappear, that has consequences for people, including you and I.  Coral
reefs provide BILLIONS of dollars worth of ecosystem services to people,
all over the tropics around the globe.  The provide food for tens of
millions of people, many of whom are very close to starvation.  If 90% of
the world's species go extinct, will that affect people?  I think so,
that's just a wild guess of mine.
     These things have huge consequences for people, ordinary people, many
of them very poor, without other resources to turn to.  No coral, no rocks,
no ecosystem, no shoreline protection, no food source, no tourism, but
plenty of starvation?
      It is in our own interest as a species to see to it that we do not
destroy these things.  I could care less if a new ice age comes in 100,000
years.  Intellectual curiosity, sure.  But I don't know if human
civilization or even the human species will be here 100,000 years for now.
 If we don't quit fouling our nest, we may well not be.
Cheers,  Doug

On Thu, May 22, 2014 at 1:46 AM, Ulf Erlingsson <ceo at lindorm.com> wrote:

> It's a good principle to separate science and politics, but different
> persons have different frames of reference which influence their
> assumptions when making a decision. When it comes to climate change and
> corals, virtually all biologists seem to assume that it would be a disaster
> if 90% of corals were to die. I'm not saying coral species, but coral
> individuals, or coral reefs. They also seem to believe that something like
> that would be a consequence of the climate change. Geologists on the other
> hand tend to not see that scenario as a disaster. It's happened before, it
> will happen again, it's no big deal, seems to be their point. If that is
> the difference in point of view, we will not settle it with science. It's a
> difference in world view, not in scientific facts.
> Another example: In my opinion there can be no doubt that a new Ice Age
> will come, the only question being when, but that it is on it's way is
> virtually certain. Ice Ages tend to start slow and end abruptly, so we
> probably wont know that it has started until at least thousand years after
> it started. Which is to say, it may already have started. The burning of
> fossil fuels may have temporarily halted it, just as Svante Arrhenius
> speculated in the 19th century when he presented the greenhouse gas
> hypothesis. Instead of staring ourselves blind on the next decades and
> centuries, we should look in a time perspective of millennia, tens of
> millennia, and hundreds of millennia.
> Ulf Erlingsson
> On 2014-05-21, at 17:15, John Cubit wrote:
> > On 11/11/2010 Eugene Shinn wrote on Coral-list:
> >
> > "...Many of us older types come from a long-standing culture that
> > says science should be pure and not influenced by politicians,
> > kind-of-like separation of religion and government. The agency where
> > I spent 31 years had existed for well over a century because it stuck
> > to the science and was seldom accused of bias. That agency produced
> > hard data that could be used by people on both sides of the political
> > aisle...."
> >
> > Instead of diatribes about bias, let's return to Gene's more positive
> > philosophy of 3.5 years ago and foster science based on
> > objectivity--science of open minds who base their work on critically
> > evaluated data, sound logic, and scientific principles.
> >
> > John Cubit
> > John.Cubit at gmail.com
> > _______________________________________________
> > Coral-List mailing list
> > Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
> > http://coral.aoml.noaa.gov/mailman/listinfo/coral-list
> >
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Douglas Fenner
Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
PO Box 7390
Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799  USA

phone 1 684 622-7084

"belief in climate change is optional, participation is not."

website:  http://independent.academia.edu/DouglasFenner


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