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“Scientists versus Whaling”: Whose Errors of Judgment?

Orians, Gordon and Briand, Frederic and Diamond, Jared and Colborn, Theo and Gomez, Edgardo and Guillemin, Roger and Klug, Aaron and Konishi, Masakazu and Lubchenco, Jane and Mee, Laurence and Norse, Elliott and Di Sciara, Giuseppe Not Arbartolo and Payne, Roger and Safina, Carl and Suzuki, David and Wilson, Edward O. and Woodwell, George (2003) “Scientists versus Whaling”: Whose Errors of Judgment? Bioscience, 53 (3). pp. 202-203. ISSN 0006-3568. doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2003)053[0202:SVWWEO]2.0.CO;2.

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In “Scientists versus Whaling” (BioScience 52:1137–1140), Aron, Burke, and Freeman defend Japan's controversial “scientific” whaling program against a series of criticisms we made in an open letter to the Government of Japan last May in the New York Times. Our letter, signed by 21 eminent scientists, including three Nobel laureates and several pioneers of conservation biology, called on Japan to suspend its whaling program. Aron and his coauthors claim that our letter contains numerous errors of fact and law, and they cite it as an example of “science advocacy” wherein scientists, driven by passion or politics, lower their professional standards in support of popular causes. To the contrary, our overriding concern is for sound science uncorrupted by a political agenda, a standard that Japan's whaling program fails to meet. Aron and colleagues also attribute nonscientific motives to the signatories of the letter, suggesting—without supporting evidence—that politics, emotion, or sentiment have undermined our professional responsibility. Such challenges to a scientist's motivation and scientific trustworthiness should not be made lightly. Yet so far as we are aware, Aron and coauthors made no effort to determine the validity of their charges.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription[0202:SVWWEO]2.0.CO;2DOIArticle
Additional Information:© 2003 American Institute of Biological Sciences.
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20151130-150859803
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Official Citation:Gordon Orians, Frederic Briand, Jared Diamond, Theo Colborn, Edgardo Gomez, Roger Guillemin, Sir Aaron Klug, Masakazu Konishi, Jane Lubchenco, Laurence Mee, Elliott Norse, Giuseppe Notarbartolo Di Sciara, Roger Payne, Carl Safina, David Suzuki, Edward O. Wilson, and George Woodwell “Scientists versus Whaling”: Whose Errors of Judgment? BioScience (2003) 53 (3): 200, 202-203 doi:10.1641/0006-3568(2003)053[0202:SVWWEO]2.0.CO;2
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:62465
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:03 Dec 2015 03:56
Last Modified:10 Nov 2021 23:02

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