Japanese whale killing is not sciencePosted: January 18, 2008
I heard with interest last month on the ABC Science Show the results of an investigation into the amount of real science the Japanese are performing in their so called ‘scientific’ whale research program. In summary the Japanese position is untenable and basically bullshit.
The story can be found here.
From the transcript:
Pat Quilty: And that’s our pile. Of the original 55 we’re down to 14 that could be relevant.
Jonica Newby: Finally, our panel will separate out the papers that could only be produced by lethal research. Because, let’s face it, the real source of contention is how many whales were killed for this information-6,800. As the sun slips over the yardarm, our panel are nearly ready to deliver a verdict.
Mike Archer: That’s one.
Nick Gales: That’s one another two papers there.
Pat Quilty: And number four.
Mike Archer: All right, that’s it. And from that whole pile of papers we’ve got a total of one, two, three, four papers that can be said to be peer reviewed, that have some relevance to developing or managing a whaling industry and that also would require lethal sampling of whales to get this information. Just four papers.
Nick Gales: So with the 18-year program and 6,800 whales killed, on that basis that means 1,700 whales killed for each one of those four papers.
Mike Archer: That’s extremely depressing.
Nick Gales: It wouldn’t pass an ethics committee.
And that’s the rub, it simply isn’t science. So every time they spurt this crap people get to associate the word “science” with a pack of lies. And with the current wind back to the dark ages of scientific illiteracy the last thing we need is science to loose any more reputation. Of course it would be nice to see the Japanese have some sort of moral backbone and simply admit it’s a commercial whaling program and not try to hide behind science but then they would have to face the fact what they are doing is both illegal and morally repugnant because they are wilfully ignoring the state of whale population.
I’d like to point out here I’m not particularly enamoured with whales, or dolphins for that matter, whales are down right ugly and dolphins just stupid. However it would appear the average dolphin has more smarts than the Japanese who think that hiding unethical behaviour under the cloak of science is acceptable. It simply is not honourable and the Japanese companies involved in this practice are also removing honour from science.