Niel Jones' response to Ron Gatrelle

Neil Jones Neil at
Sun Jan 6 14:47:57 EST 2002

On 5 Jan, in article <3C378D6A.2B7FE697 at>
     mikayak3 at "Mike Soukup" wrote:

Ignoring the personal _opinions_ about me that are not being backed up by 
_facts_, ( And the point that no one has been able to _factually_ demonstrate
that anything I have said is _logically_ incorrect.)

I will debate your point _logically_ looking at the _facts_ and _opinions_.

> I have not followed this thread closely for many reasons.  However, my two
>  cents from far-far
> out in right field is this:  Extincion - whether we like it or not, is the
>  natural order of
> ALL living things.  If I could stop that, the first thing I would do would be
>  to stop my own
> impending extinction!!!  There are millions of more species that have gone
>  extinct than there
> are species living on the earth today....and that's just on one measly little
>  planet in a
> backwater solar system in the boondocks of one of the outer spiral arms of one
>  of the smaller
> galaxies in the universe.  Had the dinosaurs not gone extinct, we would not be
>  here now.  So,
> in that case, I would think maybe Neil would want to consider the value of
>  extinction.  For
> instance, I believe that smallpox or polio or  some other bacteria was "made
>  extinct" and is
> only now preserved in CDC labs and such. 

A few _facts_ both smallpox and polio are not bacteria. They are viruses.
The correct singular form is "bacterium".

 Is this a "bad" thing??  I think not.
>     Once again, I think many conservationists are blinded to thier own
>  impotence.  They think
> humans have control over the planet.

As an active conservationist I can say that that _opinion_ is wrong.
It is a fundamental tenet of conservation that we do not know how  the planet
works and we are not in control so we need to be careful. It is one example of
the "precautionary principle". Doctors have a similar one for treating patients 
because their scientific training has taught them that they do know everything
about how the body works. It is so old that it is often quoted in Latin as 
"Primum non nocere" or "first do no harm".
Now if you can produce some _facts_ to establish that your _opinion_ is
correct and that mine is not then we can debate the matter to establish
which _opinion_ is _factually_ correct.

  VERY egotistical.  And, also, ludicrous. 
>  That said, I
> consider myself a conservationist.  I do everything I can in my little sphere
>  to keep things
> going.  But, I am also a realist.  Trying to maintain the diversity of our
>  flora and fauna as
> is is as impossible as trying to stop the earth's rotation.  You can't do it. 
>  It's bigger
> than you.  And, once again, I have to point out that we are part of nature -
>  not separate and
> above it - or different from it - but merely a part of it.  I've stated it
>  before and it
> bears repeating.  We are not the driver of this car.  We aren't even really
>  passengers....we
> are part of the car.  And, even if we are the engine or the steering wheel....I
>  still don't
> think we are the ones deciding where the vehicle is going to go!  And, thinking
>  we ARE in
> control is like the steering wheel thinking it's driving.

Conservationists would agree this point. This is why we believe we shouldn't
take parts out of the engine when we don't fully know what they do.

> Oh, and the ad hominem attacks and linking people with listening to Rush
>  Limbaugh "don't make
> it".  See, first of all, if everyone on this list actually listened to Rush for
>  3 weeks, then
> listened to Neil for 3 weeks, I think they would think Rush makes ALOT more
>  sense and is much
> more "mainstream"..

My _opinion_ is that Rush Limbaugh is a useless source of information.
I believe that this _opinion_ is _factually_ correct based on _logic_.

Rush Limbaugh makes a number of statements that I could pick on but let's just
take one. 

"What the environmentalists are saying,  in effect, is that some
trees are better than others.  Trees that have been planted by man
are not as worthy or valuable as those that grow in 'virgin' forests. 
What is a virgin forest anyway?  Most trees live for only a couple of
hundred years and then die.  No tree lives forever."

So his _opinion_ is that there is no difference between virgin and secondary
forest. This _opinion's_ validity may be examined by determining whether it is
_logically_ correct.

Now here are the _facts_.

Virgin forests are forests untouched by humans.  In the
Northwest, they are mostly old-growth forests, featuring towering
stands of trees, 200 to over 1,000 years old.  These trees are
known to harbor a number of endangered or threatened species,
among them (but not limited to) the Northern spotted owl.

So the _facts_ are in contradiction to Limbaugh's _opinion_.
Therefore Limbaugh is wrong. If you can produce _facts_ to say that I 
am wrong we will debate it.

Now we are at the position where we know that good old Rush giving out 
_opinions_ that are not in accord with the _facts_.

Now there are two posibilities one is that he is _lying_. In that he knows
what is saying is wrong. The second is that he is _incompetant_ in that 
he is stating facts that are by rational examination incorrect but does not 
know that he is doing so . (For logical completeness there
is the third that he is insane but I think we can discount that. :-))

Given that Rush Limbaugh's _opinions_ are _logically_ riddled with similar 
holes, We can establish the _fact_ that he is not a reliable source of 

In fact Rush Limbaugh's comment on the Spotted Owl in his first book was,
"If the owl can't adapt to the superiority of humans, screw it!"

I think we must agree on this since it is in _logical_ opposition to your
earlier statements in your posting.

I think therefore _logically_ you should stop paying attention to Rush
Limbaugh's rhetoric.

>  And, if the fascist name calling, Hitler references are
>  ALL the tools

This is your _opinion_, but it is not _factually_ correct. An examination of the
archive will show that I never mentioned Hitler.

Incidentally (and jocularly) there is a long tradition on the net that the
first person to mention Hitler in a heated debate has lost the argument. :-)

> that one has resort to, then you have lost the rational argument - and are, in
>  fact, wrong.

An awful lot of people don't seem to have examined carefully what I said.
Ron Gatrelle was rather offensive and pushed rather a lot of mental
"buttons" with me. Internet trolls are good at this. 

Neil Jones- Neil at
"At some point I had to stand up and be counted. Who speaks for the
butterflies?" Andrew Lees - The quotation on his memorial at Crymlyn Bog
National Nature Reserve


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