The world is facing a wave of populism and hyperbole, where honest discourse is less important than winning. In this post-truth world, the end justifies the means. If biodiversity conservation is a mission-driven discipline aimed at stopping the loss of species and ecosystems, should it also embrace questionable tactics?
Over the weekend, Joern Fischer wrote a criticism of transdisciplinary research. I was very eager to read it because it is something I have been wondering about over the last few months too. I began commenting on his blog, but, as my comment grew longer, I thought it is perhaps a better idea to flesh out my thoughts into a full post. Overall, I agree with Joern’s misgivings, but I would go even further to suggest that he was perhaps too forgiving towards transdisciplinary research.
If you’re reading this, then it’s safe to assume that you love nature. Your passion for all creatures great and small might even have pushed you to pursue a career in ecology or conservation biology. But is passion enough?
I don’t think so, and here’s why.
This post was inspired by the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. Its description on Wikipedia reads:
It examines mythology, its effect on ethics, and how that relates to sustainability. The novel uses a style of Socratic dialogue to deconstruct the notion that humans are the pinnacle of biological evolution. It posits that human supremacy is a cultural myth, and asserts that modern civilization is enacting that myth with dangerous consequences.
I am currently re-reading this book after four years and I find it as thought-provoking and well-written as I did when reading it with fresh eyes. Continue reading
As scientists we assume that we are objective. We believe that information is unambiguous and that the truth can be found in data. But is this always true? Continue reading