Monday, 16 July 2012

Cairns Post Letters from the Wingnuts #11 (That's not hypocrisy... This is hypocrisy)

In my previous Letters from the Wingnuts I noted that one writer to the Cairns Post didn't seem to understand what hypocrisy actually means. As a teaching aid, let's turn to another letter from Thursday's newspaper, from Karen Pollard of Wangetti, which lobs the hypocrisy allegation at the scientists at the International Coral Reef Symposium.
Here they are, 2000 scientific "gurus" at the gabfest, the International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns.
Hmmm... I'm not sure that they are gurus. I'm pretty sure they're just run of the mill scientists. But I guess we can forgive Ms Pollard a little snark aimed at all those elitist scientists with their fancy books 'n' lernin'.
They jetted into Cairns from all over the world, settled themselves into our best, air-conditioned hotels and no doubt dining on our fresh, local seafood.

On Sunday they boarded a fuel-guzzling, fast boat out to the Reef to examine "the damage."

This excursion was reported on a touchy-feely interview aired on ABC Radio where the scientists interviewed gushed effusively on the beautiful, colourful coral and the cutesy turtles.

Back in Cairns they then espoused in The Cairns Post that the "Grim Reaper" is coming for the Great Barrier Reef.
How dare they point out reality when you choose to ignore it? People should be allowed to remain in the intraposterial cranial position if they so choose, and scientists and reporters should respect that wish.

Ms Pollard's argument is one trotted out fairly regularly by deniers. If, they say, people believe that anthropogenic climate change is real and a problem, why don't they live in a caves without electricity?

Here are a few possibilities: Perhaps they think the benefits of travelling to events that increase awareness and understanding of the problem outweighs the cost. Maybe they know that in spite of climate change, science goes on and needs to be done. In the case of the Symposium, perhaps they think that the gathering and its consensus statement will create publicity that may make a difference. Looking at the amount of news coverage the Symposium has received, they may be right.

But no, I'm sure that Ms Pollard's suspicion is right. Those evil scientific "gurus" don't really believe in climate change at all, and are all out here having a laugh and a holiday.
The piece de resistance has to be the asssertion by these scientists that the native parrot fish with their penchant for feeding on coral with their overbite, that even the wonderful Chad Morgan would be envious of, was, in their estimation, a significant contributor to the Reef's demise.
Wait a minute... wonderful Chad Morgan? No, I'll try not to be distracted by questionable musical taste.

I'm not sure what she is talking about, but suspect that it may be a misunderstanding of some comments about the role parrotfish play in creating sand. A lot of coral sand is fact parrotfish poo. They chew on coral, digest the good stuff, and defecate the limestone out as sand. While an explosion in parrotfish numbers may have a deleterious effect on reefs, I don't know of any such suggestion that such an explosion in numbers is happening or that parrotfish are killing the reef. If there has been, we just should remember the argument "They're pretty to look at therefore they cannot be a problem" is not a valid one.
I am incredulous of the obtuseness and hypocrisy of these so-called experts. Let's not also forget their input to the tourist image of Cairns with their never-ending doom and gloom predictions.
Ooh, such a lovely touch of derision with "so-called experts". Is Ms Pollard denying that these people really are in fact experts in their fields

As for the effect of the Symposium on our tourist image, I fail to see how the fact we were chosen to host such an event can fail to help our image. The fact that coral reefs worldwide face challenges from climate change does not detract the fact that Cairns attracted such a major Symposium through its facilities and its proximity to the Reef. It will also have injected a lot of money into our economy. It could only have been better if it had been a little earlier during the low tourist season.
Accountability is sorely lacking in this sad scenario.
How about some accountability from the editor of the Cairns Post for publishing letters from wingnuts?

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