Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Barrier Reef destruction historical hokey - it's all a bit fishy

For years we've been reading about all the threats to The Great Barrier Reef.

The crown of thorns starfish was going to devour the reef 40 years ago and if we didn't "do something" the reef would be ruined. I haven't been up there to look, but I'm pretty sure the reef is still there and doing fine (despite the screeching of the doomy-warmers).

In the last 40 years we've had the threats of runoff of water from farming areas which is supposedly contaminated with fertilisers and now there's supposed "ocean acidification", due to the increase in CO2 in the atmosphere.

There is an interesting article in Quadrant July/August 2011 Volume LV Number 7/8, the latest issue, about the crown of thorns starfish and what it does to The Great Barrier Reef. What is most interesting is what the crown of thorns does for The Great Barrier Reef!

Let me quote the opening paragraphs and see if you can grasp the message.

The rise of environmentalism as a socio-political movement has brought about a fundamental shift in values and activity across a range of scientific disciplines. Fisheries, forestry, wildlife management, ecology, systematics, marine biology and indeed the whole spectrum of field biology and environmental disciplines have been strongly affected. Climatology itself has become virtually synonymous with catastrophic anthropogenic climate change.

Before the ascendancy of environmentalism, the scientific ideal was an objective, evidence-based, value-neutral search for truth. Basic research, aimed only at better understanding the world in which we live, was pursued with considerable success. Over recent decades, however, basic research in natural history has been largely supplanted by studies predicated on environmental concerns. As a consequence, acquisition of new understanding of the nature and functioning of the natural world has declined. In addition, much of the research into purported environmental problems suffers from bias and distortion arising from adherence to faith-based notions of environmental correctness.

This shift in emphasis from basic research to environmentalism began innocuously in the 1960s and 1970s when an expanding scientific community began to outgrow its funding, and competition for research grants became stronger. At the same time, government was also coming to realise that scientific research was a black hole that could devour ny amount of funding and always be hungry for more. Moreover, much of the research appeared to be highly esoteric with little prospect of ever yielding anything of practical or even intellectual value. Governments started to demand a greater consideration of utility.
Don't stop there, keep reading Fishy Science on the Great Barrier Reef  by Walter Starck and find out how the crown of thorns is now thought to be beneficial to reef growth.


Merilyn said...

.....but, but, Kae you are not supposed to deal in facts, you are supposed to swallow whole everything you are told by Julia, Bob Brown et el.

Merilyn said...

Hope you can pick this up Kae, just came across this video on Adelaidenow.

kae said...

Hi Merilyn
I've got a few days off. I've been seeing the news today with people verbally attacking our PM when she's gone to a shopping centre to spruik her carbon tax (of the big poolooders). They aren't impressed at all!

Mick Gold Coast QLD said...

"Before the ascendancy of environmentalism, the scientific ideal was an objective ... search for truth."

That was the very foundation of my training in two complementary professions - observation, data, analysis, hypothesis and substantiation of opinion. One was trained to keep the field notes and to maintain a diary in the event of a demand to prove one's professional opinion when challenged in court. You were expected to be demonstrably correct in your findings and recommendations.

When I was at Sydney Uni in the early-mid '70s (fancy that - I was surprised I made it there too) the "politics" bit was emerging as a distinct, separate but subordinate study subject. It since jumped the ladder to dominate the base engineering and planning disciplines essential to getting stuff done right.

With this background I look in disgust at the hyperbolic decline in professional practices and standards that admit the politics driven charlatans to hitherto proud professions.

Snarly Irish cynic George Bernard Shaw said "The professions are a conspiracy against the masses" (he was an Orangeman of course, not of the south :) ). I didn't see that as true back then but I say it certainly is quite true now.

Like Our Comrade Actress Kate Dress-Up-and-Pretend now we had Photogenic Snorkeller Spearfisherman-person Ben Cropp jumping on camera to earn a quid by pronouncing the "Barrier Reef's gunna die" when I was about 25.

He's been followed by people as professionally knowledgeable as Norman Gunston, Ray Martin, Ernie Dingo, Vacuous Mel 'n Dollars Kochie and that Sonya Kruger dill all announcing the same thing but citing different poisons, some of which kae mentions.

None of it happened. It's still there even after the odd ship has bumped into it and spilt a bit of oil (a natural product that gets chewed up by munchers that feast on it when aerated - I know that 'cos I headed our evil oil and coal company's response to remediation demands when they arrived in the late '80s).

When I left Sydney they wanted me to go on to do my Masters - I said "No, I'm going to earn a quid now." I did however think at the time "How good was that, we're going to get so much cleverer in years to come as more get to study and learn at high level."

That didn't happen either - we have in fact regressed intellectualy and in the professions.

Merilyn said...

Very well said Mick.

"Poolooders" Kae spot on.

Enjoy your break Kae.

Merilyn said...

Bob rang up Centrelink today for some information, and while waiting on the phone had someone telling him how good the carbon tax was, so they are doing propaganda while you wait! They tell you what website to go on for more information. "They" are really pushing it.