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Re: SVP statement on Dr. Rensberger-Burke Museum

The "stretch" is trying to defend the indefensible. The idea that he did more good than bad so it makes his crime acceptable is what concerns me. The only thing I know for sure is that someone went onto land and took something that didn't belong to them. I don't care what his intent was, or if the end result was a positive thing for your industry. The fact is that some people are making excuses for his actions and are trying to rationalize them simply because it supports their personal agendas.

The point of this original thread was that there appeared to be hypocrisy in the way the academic community is reacting to these thefts of fossils. Cloud the issues any way you wish, but you are making the very point of the original comments. Theft of fossils is ok for some people, but not for others.

From: Tim Williams <twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com>
Reply-To: twilliams_alpha@hotmail.com
To: dinosaur@usc.edu
Subject: Re: SVP statement on Dr. Rensberger-Burke Museum
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2006 13:41:35 -0500

Dinosaur World <dinoworld@msn.com> wrote:

But his illegal collecting DID personally benefit him. Certainly anyone who is making fossils available to the science community is going to be viewed as a value or asset to that community. Just because he did not accept an actual paycheck does not mean he didn't benefit.

Hoo boy, that's a stretch.

His income, no matter where it came from, is going to be impacted by his "perceived value" to those who pay him or give him his grants.

I'm guessing that you don't actually *know* this to be the case.

So the idea that did not benefit from his illegal activity because he didn't get a check handed to him for a specific fossil is, in my opinion, wrong.

As they say in those 'Law&Order' shows... "It goes to motive, your Honor". There is a HUGE difference between selling a fossil into private hands (essentially removing it from the realm of science) and depositing it in a public institution for the purposes of scientific study. Remember, collecting fossils is a means to an end, not an end unto itself.

If we look for reasons to excuse what he did, then shouldn't we applaud the private collectors for their impact on the economy?

The black economy, or the economy in general? I'm sure the illegal sale of Liaoning fossils has improved the living standards of a number of Chinese peasants, so in this sense it's made an inroad into Third World poverty. Is this the kind of thing you're referring to?



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