The discussion on the merits of Sea Shepherd Conservation Society was incredibly heated and many good points were raised on both sides. Unfortunately, as often happens when comment threads approach 100+ comments, many of the strongest arguments get diluted in a sea of verbiage. I decided to invite one of our frequent commenters, Craig Nazor, to write a guest post on his views of Sea Shepherd. Enjoy!
~Southern Fried Scientist
The debate is whether the tactics of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS) are helping or hurting the cause of shark conservation. A disclaimer: this is NOT an official response from the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (SSCS). Although I am a supporter of that organization, the thoughts and opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
Any debate that is not going to polarize the ranks of the good guys (that’s us, the conservationists) must be based on facts, and not on false assumptions and not just on emotional reactions. One common but illogical tactic often used to try to win a debate is to repeat a falsehood over and over, hoping to win for a lie the mantle of truth. A lot of time can be wasted refuting lies (or, more diplomatically, opinions disguised as facts). Another related tactic is to use words with unclear definitions but high emotional connotations. In its most simple form, this is what I would label “name calling,” as in recent uses on this blog of the terms “violent,” “criminal,” and “eco-terrorist.” Unfortunately, some of this response is going to have to be focused on addressing such unproductive tactics.