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Re: Detectives on the trail of fossil looters (retry)



Dan Varner commented:
I must wonder if you've had experience in the field, 
where all this good stuff happens. Substitute archaeology for 
paleontology and 
see where your arguments go.

Each time I read about an archeological discovery there's a complaint 
about how quick and thorough the looters have been.  In that 
sense, there might well be a good analogy to be drawn, except 
that many fossils are bigger and would take longer to grab, I 
expect.  
In this State, there's an archeologist on call who checks out 
road and building sites when something of interest is discovered. 
 Doesn't usually stop the project, but does allow for recovery 
of some artefacts.  Most remains around here are not of great 
monetary value, so bidding between public and private interests 
isn't an issue.  I'm not sure what the outcome would be if it 
were.

Dan also commented:
I'd like to see all that valuable information for "crippled" 
science. 
Can I take a look at it? How much will it cost me? "Arrogance 
and exclusivity 
of experts" is a very unfortunate phrase. Sorry that you went 
there. Same old 
spiel.

Denigrating an opponent is an old technique, and it minimizes 
the counter-argument about the scientific value of the finds. 
 An alternative argument could use an ivory-tower-academics-urge-impractical-i
deal approach, which I've also seen.
Remember, this example was included as a demonstration that a 
reasonable case could be made for harvesting fossils, so that 
the idea wouldn't appear so easy to reject.  We might disagree, 
but making an opposing case wouldn't be entirely easy.
Oh, and the 'crippled' science isn't now available to be seen 
because those who would obtain the information are being thwarted 
by the punctilious academics...  You get the way the logic would 
run.

As mentioned, all we can do is wait to see how this comes out. 
 But every time a fossil sells for millions of dollars, I get 
the feeling we're a little bit closer to the science vs. commerce-respecting-s
cience argument.
May all fossils sold be cheap! 













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