Re: birding-aus enough is enough.

To: Kim Sterelny <>
Subject: Re: birding-aus enough is enough.
From: "M. Scott O'Keeffe" <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 00:03:06 +1000
Kim Sterelny wrote:
> Tony Russell has the right to his views, expressed how he pleases, and with
> all the vigor he likes. Nothing in Scott O'Keefe's comparatively low-key
> and to my mind pretty sensible reponse denied him that, for all his bluster
> about it tending "to deny people the right to say anything which isn't
> academically verifiable, well researched and well documented." But his
> final crack about  how he is "an
> environmentalist by choice, not by pretence." is too cheap and nasty a
> sneer to go by without comment. I for one do not see how anyone who is
> genuinely committed to effective action to alleviate Australia's very real
> environmental problems would expect sneering at their natural allies to be
> an effective way of building community pressure. Everyone who is on this
> list and who is thereby interested in nature and the environment is way,
> way above the Australian average for interest in these issues. So if we are
> going to pour shit on one another, what chances are there of reaching those
> who are not already half-converted? So I do not believe you, Tony, in your
> claim to be a genuine environmentalist by choice - you just want to sound
> off and feel smug. If you really cared, you'd be trying to build bridges to
> people like Scott, not write in ways that are bound to piss them off.
> Kim Sterelny
> Dr Kim Sterelny
> Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, and
> Philosophy, RSSS, Australian Nataional University
> Australian contact information:
> Philosophy, RSSS, Australian National University
> Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
> Phone: 02/6249-2886
> Fax: 02 6249 3294
> Messages with Di Crosse, Program Administrator, 02 6249 2341
> To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to
> Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the
> quotes)

Thanks.  I certainly feel comfortable with my long record of
constructive involvement in solving environmental problems.  My
involvement is neither out of choice or pretence, but of necessity;
thats how I see the problems. There are one hell of a lot of people on
this planet, and unless you want to force sanity on people at gunpoint
(which doesnt work) we have to dispense with name calling altogether,
and get down to the rather more difficult business of problem solving.
Some may say that sticking to what I believe the truth to be (with an
open mind) is no substitute for demonstrating moral superiority by using
a few loud, angry phrases which show my contempt for "the enemy". I
prefer to treat the problem as the enemy, otherwise I may back someone
so far into a corner that I cut off his/her opportunity to change.  This
doesnt mean I have to water down my ideas or obscure fact.  I have
enough confidence in my ideas on environmental problems that I am
prepared to sit down, face to face with graziers, farmers, birdo's or
Tony Russell and debate, discuss, and learn.  Thats harder to do than
shouting at each other.  But after many years of involvement in these
issues, I conclude that this is essential to moving towards a solution.
As an aside, I'm sure that I am not the only one to have noticed that
when this approach works, it feels refreshingly different from the usual
feeling of being "against" everything... of always being critical. 

Far from wishing to stiffle Tony, I hope he continues to speak up, and
I'm sure we can both agree on encouraging everyone else to speak up as
"Beware of Half-truths... you may have the wrong half"

M. Scott O'Keeffe
Centre for Conservation Biology
University of Queensland

To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU