[ExI] Hawaii telescope protests

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Wed Jul 24 22:18:47 UTC 2019

On Wed, Jul 24, 2019 at 3:19 PM Stuart LaForge <avant at sollegro.com> wrote:

*> This conflict is not about science versus superstition, or civilization
> versus barbarism for crying out loud,  *

For crying out loud! Torpedoing the discovery of new knowledge. Breaking
the law. Helpless invisible Gods who live on a mountain and are
terrified of telescopes. And you say this isn't about science
versus superstition and civilization versus barbarism?


> * > it is about the rights of the indigenous Hawaiians. Empire
> building always comes at the price of push back.*

Except for Antartica and Greenland there is not a square foot of the
Earth's surface that has not been stolen and re-stolen from somebody over
and over again, so that rather limits the places one can build scientific
instruments. And it's not as if scientists wanted to build a glue factory
on the mountain, any civilized person should have been proud to be of the
same race as the one that made something as magnificent and inspiring as
the Thirty Meter Telescope. But instead we've got invisible wimpy Gods and
Hawaiian mobs.

> *> These are not feather-wearing natives who live in huts in some
> backwards province, *

I wish they were, instead they are breaking the law and throwing around
their power because they know they can.

> *> these are  American citizens exercising their constitutional rights.*

No they are not, the court ruled against them and they are breaking the
law, they are blocking the road and intimidating people to such a degree
that astronomers felt they had no choice but to abandon the most important
astronomical observatory in the world. And that makes me sad. And the worst
of it is this pond scum is going to win.

> >
> *I think the wise thing to do in this situation would be to some sort of
> concession to  them in exchange for building another telescope.*

You think that hasn't been tried? At first the concession they wanted the
astronomers to make was don't build the Thirty Meter Telescope, but now
that they've had a taste of victory, not in a court of law but in the
streets, or rather in the one and only street that leads up the mountain,
they want one additional concession, stop all astronomy at the most
important observatory in the world. So why are they really doing this?
Because they can.

> *For example, tell them that 13 is an unlucky number and that they should
> allow a 14th telescope so as not to offend their god with bad omens.*

Wow that sound really condescending, but that's OK I'd be fine with that if
it worked. But it won't. A few years ago the astronomers offered to remove
2 existing telescopes if they stopped blocking the road and let them build
the Thirty Meter Telescope, then there would only be 12 telescopes on the
mountain, but the protestors could sense the desperation and despair of the
astronomers so they said no. They wanted total victory and it looks like
they're going to get it court ruling or no court ruling.

John K Clark
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