Scientists told us that the Coelacanth was long extinct. Then, the fish turned up in fishemens' nets. Oops. So much for that idea. And for a long time, scientists have been telling us that reef-building glass sponges have been long extinct. But yesterday, it was announced that they've been found off the coast of Washington state. Oops, again. Scientists told us that the Northern Spotted Owl could only exist in old-growth forests, which led to the elimination of logging in old-growth forests and in virtually all National forests. But then it was found that they actually do well in fragmented habitat as well. Ooops. Dang. Don't you hate when that happens? As if in support of the Law of Unintended Consequences, the frantic effort to preserve habitat for the Northern Spotted Owl has resulted in ideal habitat for the larger and more aggressive Barred Owl. The result has led to the more rapid decline of the very species that the scientist assurred us would survive if we stopped logging in the Pacific Northwest. At the same time, the Barred Owls are now hybridizing by interbreeding with the Northern Spotted Owls, yielding viable offspring and further muddying an already clouded situation. Biologists now believe that two options for maintaining a distinct Northern Spotted Owl population exist: shooting barred owls indefinitely, or capturing the remaining Spotteds and reproducing them in captivity. The former approach is, of course, not a viable option: once you begin shooting the barred owls, you have to be prepared to do so ad infinatum. And quite obviously, politics and "Animal Activists" will not permit this approach. The latter option, although sure to be vigorously fought by "Animal Activists", is more likely to be successful. "Animal Activists" such as the Audubon Society and Sierra Club fought tooth and nail in the courts to prevent USFWS and zoos from embarking upon just such a plan to preserve the California Condor, for example, and ultimately failed. Meanwhile, the Condor program has resulted in a managed expansion of the gene pool, repopulation, and in some cases successful return of the birds to the wild.
But taken together, the above should make one stop for a moment to consider: scientists were wrong about the coelacanth. Wrong about glass sponges. Wrong about habitat preservation for the Northern Spotted Owl.
You can't trust them to predict the weather four days from now.
Yet you believe them when they tell you that Global Warming Is All Your Fault? Psst! Want a great deal on the Brooklyn Bridge?