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Re: Detectives on the trail of fossil looters (retry)
HP Marjanovic observed:
I don't quite understand the comparison between fossil trade
Money is renewable; fossils are not. A lottery (strange that
considered comparable to a casino... or have I misinterpreted
ruin anyone (unlike a casino); fossil trade tends to ruin the
Mary's statement was that allowing for-profit excavation of fossils
would be a deal with the devil; that it's better to have it happen
illegally than with government authorization. The assumption
is that it's going to happen, but government would be soiled
In that sense, it's like gambling: people are going to gamble,
the assumption is, no matter what. The successful counter argument
has been that if people are going to gamble anyway, then the
State might as well regulate it to assure the game is honest
and get money to fund State functions that do people some good.
Difficult choice, and the decision to authorize/increase gambling
is usually made when a State runs short of tax money.
However, none [countries] have passed laws permitting the sale
and permanent removal of, say, important historical artifacts.
Like... say, like the original
pergament with the US constitution on it. Right?
Good point, countries are very reluctant to let go of items with
historical significance. This can be part of an effective response.
However, a fossil is not the product of human hands and has no
obvious appeal left where it is, so the sentimental attachment
may be less.
Just for context, consider the debate about using snowmobiles
in national parks in the US. There are people who want to leave
the wilderness as is, without vehicles obtruding. The Clinton
administration banned them. The Bush administration heard the
locals who said that tourism is an important part of their economy,
and that wilderness appealed only to young, determined hikers
while there are a lot more snowmobile drivers who will spend
money. The ban has been rescinded.
Part of the dispute was the disturbance created by the noise
snowmobiles make. The snowmobile industry now makes quieter
No matter the attachment to nature, commerce can win.
The same might apply to fossils. And one attraction of excavating
now is that we'll know more now instead of waiting, maybe for
decades. You (generic 'you') can be put in the position of arguing
in favor of knowing less about dinos than you would otherwise.
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