- This debate reminds me of the debate of global warming. When one side (the scientists, who typically have no profit motivation) points out a problem, the other side (typically the trades and countries who have vested interests) would find some other "scientists" to deny the problem. And their typical defense is "there is not enough evidence that there is a problem" rather than "we are sure there are no problems." (See Dr. Giam's article on Dec 1, 2006.) You can always ask for more evidence to prove anything, can't you?
These defendants of excessive CO2 exhaustion have thus successfully stalled a global co-operation on reverting the trend of global warming for tens of years, with a possibly deadly consequence -- I am talking about the death of us the human species not just the deaths of one or two persons.
Regarding global warming, we don't know if we have already passed the point of no return. Al Gore, being a very optimistic person, said no -- if we take action now, we can still save the world. I can only trust him. But I really think we should have taken actions much earlier.
- Also, these proponents of an allegedly bad convention (e.g. continuation of excessive CO2 exhaustion) would throw out excuses that are not related to the issue at hand so as to divert the public's attention. In the American CO2 debate, it is "how about India and China?"; in the shark-fin-soup debate, it is "the West are imposing their values upon us the East."
- Finally, Mr. Wong Hoong Hooi's article (Dec 11, 2006) reminds me of the debate in the human rights controversies surrounding the Beijing Olympics this summer (2008). That is, if you have flaws, point out the flaws somewhere else (e.g. the human rights or racial problems in the western countries, or the expansion of the European America at the expense of the survivals of the native American Indians). Say loud and clear that since these people are guilty also for something, they have no right to criticize me. These arguments can buy some sympathy, but I must say this -- in a law of court, even a convicted criminal can testify against another person, so Mr. Wong's argument is against the spirit of human society.
I agree that a debate about shark-fin soups requires more scientific data and facts and less emotion and subjective judgment. Before we can reach a definitive final conclusion, however, I would give the benefit of the doubt to the party that is on an irreversible path (i.e. the shark species that, God forbid, once went into extinction, would never re-surface again.)