Protecting Mauna Kea: History for Haoles

by on April 30, 2015 · 24 comments

in Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights, Culture, Environment, History, Media, Organizing

Queen Liliuokalani at Iolani Palace in Honolulu

Queen Liliuokalani at Iolani Palace in Honolulu

 

By Will Falk / San Diego Free Press

In the first essay of my Protecting Mauna Kea series, I made a mistake. I wrongfully described the ongoing, illegal American occupation of Hawai’i as an “annexation.”

Hawaiian friends of mine pointed this out to me and gave me a thorough history lesson. I was referred to documents, books, and websites that tell the truth. For the last several days, I’ve been reading everything I can on the subject.

The more I read, the more convinced I become not only that the Thirty Meter Telescope project lacks any legal right to build on Mauna Kea, but that international law, indeed American law itself, demands that the United States end it’s occupation of Hawai’i.

I have two hopes for this piece. First, I want to give a history lesson for haoles. “Haole” is the Hawaiian word for white person. I am specifically directing this lesson at white settlers – at haoles – because the first thing haoles can do is understand the history of violence we benefit from.

This history lesson will demonstrate that the current regime controlling Hawai’i is illegitimate and as such has no authority to enforce the construction of the TMT on Mauna Kea.

Second, I want to relieve Hawaiians from the responsibility of educating haoles. Hawaiians have no responsibility to educate us. As a white settler hoping to stand in true solidarity with Hawaiians, I am upset with myself for the mistake. I have seen how frustrating it can be for a movement when valuable time must be spent coaching well-meaning settlers along.

I want to be clear: I am not advocating for a “call-out” culture on the front lines of resistance where resisters perpetually attack each other for their choice of words. Many of us must go through our personal experiences unlearning the lies we are taught and this takes time. The dominant culture, of course, does an excellent job lying. That’s why it’s the dominant culture.

But, I am saying that settlers need to take responsibility for educating other settlers. Leaving education to oppressed classes, forcing them to do the work of spreading consciousness, is a form of oppression in itself.

Before I begin, it is necessary to explain that this essay represents my opinions and my personal perspective of Hawaiian history stemming from the research I’ve done and been directed to. I am not a spokesperson for the Hawaiian people, neither am I spokesperson for the Mauna Kea protectors. I understand that there is no One True History, but I refuse to abide by the relativism I see perpetuating around me.

The complexity of a situation does not signify a lack of meaning. Rather, the complexity of a situation – especially ones with real, physical consequences – demands that we grapple with information to take a stand. As the world disintegrates before our eyes, I see too many people mired in the neutrality their belief in the relative nature of reality produces.

Make no mistake, if the construction of the TMT project results in the spill of hazardous chemicals in the largest freshwater aquifer on the Island of Hawai’i – a very real possibility – there will be very real consequences for life on the Island.

***

Milan Kundera famously stated the “struggle against oppression is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” I have found this to be shockingly true learning the history of Hawai’i. It is my belief that haoles have forgotten – or never knew – the history of Hawai’i. If we did not forget, there would be more of us supporting the Mauna Kea protectors and supporting true Hawaiian sovereignty.

What have we forgotten?

It starts centuries ago when Hawaiians first arrived in Hawai’i. Over the centuries, Hawaiians developed a culture based on ecological balance that included communal land tenure. I am very self-conscious that my attempts to explain a complex culture that existed for centuries before the arrival of Europeans would amount to so much generalization. I cannot possibly do the Hawaiian culture justice in a short essay, but so many discussions of Hawaiian history begin with the arrival of Captain Cook in 1778 erasing Hawaiian history pre-European contact.

There are always those that will accuse me of romanticizing Hawaiian culture, who will say “all human cultures are inherently destructive.” I do not mean to romanticize Hawaiian culture and it simply is not true that all human cultures are inherently destructive. We know the Hawaiian culture before 1778 had it’s own problems, but wide-scale ecological collapse was not one of them. In this era of total environmental destruction, we would do well to empower cultures who lived in balance with theirland base.

From 1826 until 1893, the United States government recognized the independent Kingdom of Hawai’i including full, complete diplomatic relations with the Hawaiian government. For all intents and purposes, the United States viewed Hawai’i as a nation just like Mexico, Canada, or Great Britain. In fact, the United States entered into treaties involving navigation and commerce with Hawai’i in 1826, 1842, 1849, 1875, and 1887.

Legislature of the Kingdom of Hawaii 1868

Legislature of the Kingdom of Hawaii 1886

Then, in January, 1893, John L. Stevens, an American agent in Hawaii (his official title was United States Minister), conspired with non-Hawaiians and members of the U.S. Navy to overthrow the Hawaiian government. On January 16, 1893, Stevens and armed US naval personnel invaded Hawai’i and positioned themselves next to Hawaiian governmental buildings including Iolani Palace to intimidate Queen Liliuokalani. Queen Liliuokalani, under threats of bloodshed, yielded her authority to the government of the United States – NOT Stevens’ provisional government – until the time the United States would undo the actions of its representatives in Hawai’i.

Grover Cleveland was the president in 1893 and he initiated an investigation into the actions of Stevens and his cronies while calling for the restoration of the Hawaiian monarchy. The investigation concluded that Stevens and other US officials in Hawaii had abused their authority and had engaged in “an act of war.”

Still, the provisional government sought annexation in Congress, but was unable to rally the support of 2/3 of the Senate needed for annexation. So, on July 4, 1894, the provisional government that had forcibly invaded and overthrown the Kingdom of Hawai’i, declared itself the Republic of Hawai’i.

In 1896, William McKinley replaced Grover Cleveland as president. Using the excuse of the Spanish-American war and the need for a naval base in the Pacific, McKinley and the Senate began to entertain the notion of annexing Hawai’i, again.

In 1897, the Hawaiian people delivered a massive petition where nearly 90% of Hawaiians alive at the time declared their desire not to become part of the United States of America. Unable to secure a treaty of annexation, Congress passed a joint resolution titled “the Newlands Resolution” on July 7, 1898.

The illegality of this joint resolution is one of the most important things to understand about Hawaiian history. This resolution had no legal basis, had no validity, and was possible simply because of the armed might of the United States.

The resolution has no legitimate basis because laws passed by Congress have no authority internationally. Congress can only pass laws that apply within the United States.

Hawaiian legal scholar Dr. Keanu Sai explains it better than I can in his blog-article “International Law Prevents Construction of the Thirty Meter Telescope” when he writes, “The underlying problem that Congressmen at the time knew was that no law of Congress can have any force and effect beyond the borders of the United States. In other words, the United States could no more annex the Hawaiian Islands by passing a domestic law, than it could annex Canada today by passing a law.”

As part of the Newlands Resolution, the Republic of Hawai’i passed 1,800,000 acres of what had been crown, government, and public lands of the Kingdom of Hawai’i to the control of the United States. Included in this land is Mauna Kea. Through the acquisition of Mauna Kea in this way, the State of Hawai’i has leased land on Mauna Kea for the TMT’s construction. But, an illegal state giving land acquired illegally can only give – you guessed it – an illegal lease.

Of course, you don’t have to take my word for this history, because all of these facts were already admitted and apologized for by Congress on November 23, 1993. You can read their apology here.

***

So, can you see why we cannot call the occupation of Hawai’i an annexation? No treaty of annexation was ever signed. “Annexation” implies consent on the part of those annexed and clearly the Hawaiian people never consented.

To take this even deeper, the term “annexation” hides the truth, softens the reality that Hawai’i was invaded while the invaders still seek to assert dominance over Hawai’i. To use the term “annexation” is to forget and forgetting clears the wayfor oppression.

There’s something, though, that bothers me about all this. How can the American government and the American people after learning this history, after admitting the wrongs done to Hawai’i still allow something like the TMT project to happen? I think the answer is that learning the history is only the first small step. Knowing the history, we must act.

One of the intentions behind my writing is to try to understand how so many people can recognize problems in the world and then fail to act to solve those problems. I am a haole, so I can only speak as a haole, and I believe too many haoles settle for pointing out their privilege while the more important work involves undermining the forces that grants them that privilege over others in the first place. The history is clear. Hawaiians are being wronged. Now, we need to act.

{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc Snelling Marc Snelling April 30, 2015 at 10:07 am

Learning history (that is not taught in schools) is a first step. Learning respect is another step. It is telling that the TMT group has created a website to try and undercut the advocates for a natural Mauna Kea: http://www.maunakeaandtmt.org/

The homepage features a quote attributed to King David Kalakaua welcoming other nations to learn from astronomical observations in Hawaii. Clearly the TMT group has learned a little history, and clearly they see the weight and of his words or they wouldn’t feature the quote so prominently. But what about respect?

Co-opting his words as if he would be in support of the TMT shows zero respect. He spoke these words in 1874 before there were any structures on Mauna Kea. My guess is, if he were alive today, he would be very much against the construction of the TMT. It is not about sacred versus astronomical interests – it is about keeping them in balance.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling April 30, 2015 at 10:14 am

… some HTML got stripped out of my last reply.

Article on Mauna Kea and TMT:
http://welivemana.com/articles/mauna-wakea

Even without learning history, it was very apparent to me when I visited Mauna Kea, that it is a sacred peak. http://ms-cs.ca/images/mauna_kea.jpg

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie April 30, 2015 at 10:18 am

When were you in Hawaii?

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling April 30, 2015 at 10:29 am

About six years ago. Visiting Mauna Kea was an incredible experience.
http://ms-cs.ca/images/Hawaii2009.jpg

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Gerard April 30, 2015 at 4:13 pm

The Tahitian-Hawaiians should be glad that the islands were discovered by Cook and not by the Spaniards (check Manila galleon), and they would have been treated like the Spaniards did to the Azteks and Incas.
Support progress and the TMT!
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/wesupporttmt.html

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CliffHanger April 30, 2015 at 6:56 pm

Well stated. Tom Coffman’s “Nation Within” is an excellent, historical review of the step by step manipulations that brought us (mainland U.S.) to the point of annexing the Kingdom of Hawai’i. It’s sad, frustrating and demoralizing to read, as a haole, but if you can keep your mind open, question the history (or lack of history) we’ve been taught, and see this from the natives’ (kama’aina) point of view you will understand the magnitude of wrong that has been inflicted.
What’s the way forward from that knowledge? It’s hard to know, but a good start is recognizing that we must respect the land of Hawai’i and confer this decision-making to the native Hawai’ian people.

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Jeff May 2, 2015 at 1:22 pm

You’re lost in romantic delusions.

I was raised on Oahu, have a half-sister descended from Hawai’ian Ali’i, and have many friends and family of Hawaiian descent. Some are opposed, some are for. This is a divided issue.

FACT: the Hawaiian chain is the most militarily and commercially significant of all the islands in the Pacific. Colonization (or “occupation,” as you like to reference it) was inevitable. If not the British Crown (which is, to this day, the largest “occupier” on Earth by a massive margin over all others to the tune of 6.6+/- billion acres; US “occupiers” can’t even come close to this number) and the US it would have been the Spanish, Portuguese, Dutch, French, or any number of other nations with powerful naval fleets. God forbid it would have been Imperial Japan, China, or Russia, all of whom would have eviscerated the Hawaiian native population.

Even if the Sovereignty Movement got their wish it would leave Hawaii far more vulnerable. They have no measurable military force and none of the requisite capital to put up a fight against the major nations on the financial front.

FACT: no other major power in history has as many private and governmental agencies dedicated to representing and defending the rights of indigenous peoples as the US. Yes, many within the US continually try to gut these agencies but many more are in support of them.

FACT: Hawaii is a deeply divided culture. There are far too many monied interests, several of which are controlled by indigenous Hawaiians and their descendants, who do not support Sovereignty, largely because they know what they stand to lose and how vulnerable it would leave the islands and their people.

FACT: the US, entirely aware of the aforementioned significances, will never let the islands go. It would be a disaster if they did.

FACT: Hawaii has a lengthy history of violence and divisiveness among its people. It is highly unlikely that peace would be brought to the islands should they be granted sovereignty. Everyone seems to forget that Kam I, a man considered to be the greatest leader in Hawaiian history, bought guns and cannons from Europeans to massacre his own people with under the pretense of “unification.” Oldest story in the book: unity through brutality. But then, we also overlook things like how Moses crafted laws that condoned selling your daughters into sexual slavery and how Jesus endorsed the Mosaic law of stoning “rebellious” children to death (so much for “let he who is without sin…,” eh?). Few things are as prevalent modern society as historical amnesia and a desire to romanticize the past and it’s “heroic” figures. We love to delude ourselves; it’s “comforting.”

Speaking of… Did you know of the Moriori genocide? I recommend looking into it and the parties responsible.

FACT: Germans were prominent among the many various Europeans who bought land in Hawaii and married into the genealogy. Imagine how WWII would have turned out if Germany had ended up with the island chain.

Yes, what has been done to the Hawaiian people and indigenous peoples throughout history is awful. But this is not unique. Over a million Irish were forcibly starved out of existence by the Brits. The Royal Family has a lengthy history of being horrible to its own people, let alone those abroad. Look what Japan did to the Chinese. The Indonesians to the Timorese. And on and on and on.

It is of no use to continually view violence and oppression as a racial problem. It is a HUMAN problem. Race is merely an excuse we use to deflect from the real issue.

The past is done. The best we can hope to do is learn from the mistakes made and seek not to repeat them.

Mauna Kea is no more sacred than any other mountain. The TMT is not Monsanto or DOW, or any other potentially more insidious entity. This is a valuable asset to the islands and its people and one that the earliest progenitors, who used the stars to find the islands in the fist place, would have jumped at the chance to gaze through.

There are Hawaiians who support the TMT. Perhaps you should speak with them.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling May 4, 2015 at 7:31 am

Mauna Kea may not be more sacred than any other mountain to you, but it certainly is to many others. The idea that it is a sacred peak is no more romantic than scientist’s ideas about what can be learned about the nature of the universe from using this telescope.

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Jeff May 4, 2015 at 3:05 pm

Some say the whole Earth is sacred. Who are you to disagree with that?

The argument you posit here is as slippery a slope as any going. Religions have always used “sacred” as an argument to attack science. Always. They have also used “sacred” as an excuse to “sacrifice” (just a BS euphemism for murder) people, even people they love, to invisible, and ultimately non-existent, gods. And Hawaiians are not different in this regard. How do you fail to see how you defend in Hawaiian culture what you rail against in the Western one? Should the US revert to an Old Testament theocracy because it is consistent with “traditional” values?

And you kid yourself. Pure scientists don’t romanticize the discipline. Quite the opposite. One of the basic tenets of true science is to accept ugly truths over beautiful lies, even if it is unsettling to do so.

Religion IS romanticism. And it is almost always wrong about virtually everything. History proves this time and time and time again (having been both a student of religion and science I speak from more than just my ass).

There is nothing wrong with wanting to maintain records of the human journey, to look at where we have been. But we MUST always keep an eye on the future. This is as true of Hawaiian society as it is any other.

Every culture that refuses to evolve and move beyond its childish notions of how nature functions falls into decay and inevitably disappears.

What is most sad in all of this is that you think I am against Hawaii and Hawaiians when I am in fact in full support of them moving forward with the rest of humanity, in taking their place alongside those who respect and acknowledge change as an inevitable and immovable force.

It is a paradox. Hawaiians do not want to be forgotten but refusing to move forward makes it all the more likely that they will be.

Violence is not a racial issue, it is a human one.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling May 4, 2015 at 3:35 pm

The whole earth is sacred. Where is the contradiction in what I said?

The fact is Mauna Kea is a place of worship for many generations. No different than any other sacred site, a mosque, a cathedral, a waterfall.

Scientists romanticize their discipline frequently, in television shows, presentations, when arguing for tax payer funding. How romanticized was the race to land on the moon?

Science and religion are different directions in the same continuum. Where one ends the other one picks up. Religion hasn’t been wrong about virtually everything, anymore than science has been right about virtually everything.

You talk about science like it is the only discipline that can operate in a moral vacuum. Were scientists right to create Agent Orange, the atomic bomb? Oppenheimer’s conscience, for one, was not clean after the Manhattan Project.

There are at least two ways to look at everything. You labelling our ancestors childish makes a big assumption. You could just as easily assume they knew more than we did, and that we will learn that fact in the future.

Nowhere did I say you were against Hawaiians, you are using a straw man. The only thing that any population agrees is that 100% don’t agree on anything.

What does a false argument like ‘the US should revert to the old testament’ have to do with any of this? Thinking there has been enough development on this sacred site already has nothing to do with your example. Which is a bad example anyway because the land the US is on had a people with beliefs long before the old testament. A belief system that we are all part of nature and respect is key to our existence. A belief system that is making a big resurgence of late. I’m sure there is a scientific explanation for that.

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Jeff May 4, 2015 at 4:07 pm

You and I are definitely not going to come to any agreement on this topic.

I’m in the Sam Harris school and you clearly tilt in the direction of people like Reza Aslan.

Either you never read every page of the major religious texts or you did and simply ignored all the uncomfortable passages.

The greatest arrogance of religion is not that it tells people what to believe so much as it tells God(s) what to believe.

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Jeff May 4, 2015 at 8:27 pm

Marc,

I think it would be highly beneficial for you, and all Hawaiians as well, to watch this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fl1nJC3lvFs

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling May 5, 2015 at 10:04 am

This project is not a religion vs science debate.

The supporters of keeping this area undeveloped are not advocating removal of all the existing telescopes from Mauna Kea. They are saying leave room on the peak for traditional sacred practices. This is not a Hawaiian-specific idea, the wise man on the mountain top is a classic archetype across many cultures. It should be easy to see what is special about the tallest mountain on our planet.

This debate is about respect. Even if you don’t agree with protecting Mauna Kea you could disagree respectfully. Islam, the old testament, Neil de Grasse videos – none of this is to the point.

Here is a video that actually has something to do with the issue at hand:
https://vimeo.com/126223489

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Jeff May 5, 2015 at 2:53 pm

Your opening statement is factually incorrect. The entire platform for opposing the TMT is fundamentally based on religiosity. Most of those opposed to it consistently conflate the TMT and its supporters with Monsanto and the MIC as well, which is totally bogus. Claims that it will measurably harm the water table have been proven false. By the time any of the runoff reaches potable wells it will have been filtered out. Volcanic rock and soil are among the best natural filtration elements and sources in existence.

Seven years went into taking every precaution that no burial sites or other ancient ruins would be harmed. The few plant species that exist up there will not be wiped out by the project.

Conferring sacredness on a site purely based on altitude is not very elevated thinking.

You are also wrong in stating that no one involved in the protest wants to see all the telescopes removed. Every one that was built was also met with protest, you just didn’t know about it because the internet wasn’t around then. Ironically, the technology you are using right now to have this discussion was created mostly by the military and agencies like NASA. Not just ironic but rather hypocritical.

BTW, at least one of the telescopes is slated for decommission.

What I find particularly amusing about your rebuttal is that you introduced mosques and cathedrals into the argument then turn around and claim that the Tyson video is irrelevant (which it is not at all). Also, I have kept an entirely civil and respectful tone in every one of my rebuttals so it is quite disingenuous of you to claim that I am being disrespectful by disagreeing. You contradict yourself often.

No institution in history has shown such brazen disrespect for human life (and life in general) as religion, despite claims to the contrary. Religion always tries to hide its bloody tracks with pretty, happy language. Sadly, it works shockingly well. Most people are willing addicts for brain sugar. You’ll get none of that with me.

The only place where we would find mutual agreement is in instances where certain scientists are motivated primarily by profit rather than pure science. But that is not the case with the TMT. Sadly, there are other developments taking place RIGHT NOW in Hawaii that are infinitely more damaging to the islands and their citizens that are being totally ignored, largely due to the smokescreen that this ultimately purely symbolic protest is creating. The scientists behind the TMT are not profit mongers but the scientists behind many other more detrimental projects definitely are. And they are laughing from the shadows that people like you help to cloak them in. Bravo.

You claim that I am not sympathetic to these issues. Really. How much of your immediate family had massive amounts of their ancestral estate taken from them by the US military and government? My half-sister is descended from Hawaiian Ali’i. I grew up with Hawaiian uncles and aunties who regularly recalled the crimes against them by the US. I am DIRECTLY impacted by these losses, far more than you have been or ever will be. But I also look at what is – and what is not. The past is done. The Hawaii of now is not and never will again be what it was. But this is not all bad anymore than it is all good. Knowing one from the other is not at all easy or simple and clinging to ideas based on faith and the “old ways” is not a rational approach to any problem.

BTW, you offered a music video filled with nothing but romanticism in response to my NDT breakdown? Seriously? No data, no rebuttals with reasoned, researched arguments about how the TMT will do anything other than anger spirits and gods.

And I’m the one living in a romantic delusion?

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling May 6, 2015 at 7:30 am

You are making all kinds of assumptions and generalizations and using that to speak for others. Your generalizations about religion are disrepectful and simplistic.

The opposition to the TMT is not from a religious group. Surely amongst the group in opposition there are athiests, agnostics, and religious people, the same as in the group supporting it. Science and religion are not mutually exclusive, there are plenty of scientists who have religious beliefs.

The idea that other development projects on the island are proceeding unopposed because of opposition to the TMT is based on what? Where is the data, reason and resaearch behind that opinion?

The concern people have expressed is the tanks from this project will leak. There is no way to prove that will or won’t happen. Contaminating fresh water from it’s source is bad for obvious reasons.

The sacredness of Mauna Kea is not based on my opinion or the altitude. My point about high mountains is they are historically a place of reflection associated with wisdom across all cultures – that a peak doesn’t have to be ‘sacred’ to see the importance in preserving it.

Many in my direct family have had their land taken by the US government/military. My grandfather was the last generation to grow up on the 600-acre family farm. My ancestors had been there for many generations and are buried there. They were forced to give up the land to build Camp Atterbury roughly 70 years ago. It was a very traumatic experience for my direct family from those generations.

Religion and science answer different questions and exist together, they don’t trump one another and they aren’t the two sides of this TMT project.

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gristmiller May 2, 2015 at 6:55 pm

Thanks for this!

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Jeff May 7, 2015 at 2:35 pm

The greatest sin of religion is not that it tells people what to believe so much as it arrogantly declares what God(s) should believe. How could I possibly respect any such institution.

Religion is the bureaucratization of spirituality as well as psychological/emotional terrorism. No single man-made idea has invested more energy in false claims and cruel behavior. It is dragging humanity backwards. When religion reigns so does terror. Theocracies are ALWAYS the most brutal of power structures for the simple fact that those who rule in them believe God(s) speak through them; they claim to be above and beyond reproach – the very definition of despotic fanaticism. Science encourages thought and questioning (so long as it is buoyed by genuine inquiry and research) while religion commands that it not be questioned at all. It is the very height of pretension.

It is clear to me that you have not read The Bible (as I have), the Koran (as I have), the Bhagavad Gita (as I have), or any major religious text en toto, let alone any other more complex foundational texts by major historical thinkers.

You argue purely from sentiment and emotion and you wonder why I don’t have much respect for your views.

You also engage in a slew of logical fallacies in every one of your rebuttals.

This telescope will have zero negative impact on any effort to preserve the history of the Hawaiian people, quite the opposite in fact. Their is nothing wrong with preserving the stories and heritage by cataloguing what is knowable and passing it on for generations to come. There is everything wrong with continuing to promote ideas that are no longer buoyed in reality, that the passage of time has revealed as false. While I agree that even these false idea should be recorded I do not at all agree that they should be confused with facts, let alone passed on as such.

If Mauna Kea is sacred to the gods the gods will act. So far they have shown no opposition. Again, the arrogance of the religious believe they are sanctioned to speak and act on behalf of these gods.

As for your claim that there are atheists and agnostics supporting this protest, while I do not necessarily doubt this, they are clearly very small in number and not at all representative of either the movement or their fellow atheists and agnostics, let alone the scientific community at large (which is overwhelmingly supportive of the TMT).

BTW, this is both spurious and baseless:

“The concern people have expressed is the tanks from this project will leak. There is no way to prove that will or won’t happen. Contaminating fresh water from it’s source is bad for obvious reasons.”

You are not an expert in the fields related to this particular issue. Those who are have conducted extensive field research (something you have done none of) on the subject. There is no measurable harm that will be done to the potable sources. The distance through volcanic rock, dirt and ash that any seepage will travel is so vast and extensive that measurably harmful elements will be inert by the time they make it to a tap.

The radiation alone (which is quite considerable at this altitude – ever bother to look into that?) will do much to sterilize seepage. In fact, one of the best things that could be done with much of the waste water at such altitudes would be to disperse it very liberally around the area where it would be irradiated and rendered harmless in days and weeks.

Speaking of radiation, ever bother to look into how much radiation you are exposed to when you fly? Check it out. You’ll trip, if not simply freak out.

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Jon May 7, 2015 at 3:28 pm

Are you two seriously still at this? Can’t you just exchange Facebook or email and bicker about which one of you is smarter over there? The rest of us are busy.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling May 8, 2015 at 6:51 am

Jon is right, this exchange is increasingly not about the TMT.

The point I’m trying to make is everyone deserves respect regardless of their beliefs or supposed intelligence. You don’t need to be Einstein to understand the downsides of this project.

An area larger than 6 football fields disturbed to build an 18-story structure generating a constant noise level of a gas lawnmower with a 5000 gallon waste and hazardous chemical tank.

You don’t need a PHD in atmospheric physics to understand shit rolls downhill.

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Jeff May 8, 2015 at 12:48 pm

I’ve never once made this an issue of intelligence. That’s pure hyperbole.

You’re confusing intelligence with ignorance. Plenty of smart people argue from ignorance on a subject. It’s a popular logical fallacy to argue from authority. Being knowledgeable in one area does not confer brilliance in another. People like Deepak Chopra are very guilty of such offenses.

This is a patently absurd and cowardly PC statement:

“everyone deserves respect regardless of their beliefs or supposed intelligence.”

That is the definition of wanting it both ways, of fence sitting, of wanting one’s cake and to eat it too.

It’s also completely disingenuous coming from you because you have clearly taken a position that is against the opinions of others.

“An area larger than 6 football fields disturbed to build an 18-story structure generating a constant noise level of a gas lawnmower with a 5000 gallon waste and hazardous chemical tank.”

And what do volcanoes do when they erupt?

You’re not a volcanologist, you’re not an astrophysicist, you’re not a geologist. But you’re the expert because you have an “opinion.” How quaint.

You’re also not aware that the majority of Hawaii’s scientifically literate population supports the TMT. This includes people of Hawaiian ancestry. But they are being bullied and shouted down, sometimes even threatened with violence. One of the more vocal protestors has even threatened a hapa teenager attending high school in Hawaii who supports the TMT and is circulating a petition for it.

You’re defending bullies and thugs.

And you totally kid yourself with the Einstein name drop. No way he would have opposed the TMT any more than Galileo or Copernicus would have.

You and the mob you endorse are no different than the mob that attacked and murdered Hypatia of Alexandria. The only thing stopping the violence from being acted out is the attention being focused.

I’ve had plenty of people whose opinions you demand I respect threaten to beat me up over this topic.

And I’m the intolerant one. That’s ripe.

You may be smart but you’re definitely ignorant. Only you can change that, Smokey.

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Bill A May 19, 2015 at 12:40 pm

With supporters like you the TMT doesn’t need opponents.

Faculty, staff and students of the U of Hawai’i and other academics have drafted the letter below calling for the TMT project to be stopped:

ACADEMICS’ LETTER TO THE PARTNERS, ASSOCIATES, AND AFFILIATED ENTITIES OF THE THIRTY METER TELESCOPE PROJECT
http://www.idlenomore.ca/academics_letter_to_the_partners_associates_and_affiliated_entities_of_the_thirty_meter_telescope_project

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Jeff May 20, 2015 at 1:22 pm

The “faculty, staff, students, and other academics” mentioned failed to state which departments they represent.

The overwhelming majority of Hawaii’s scientifically literate community (which includes those of native Hawaiian descent, which also happens to include direct relatives of mine) supports the TMT.

But, as usual, the most brutish and emotionally charged are taking the side of religion and superstition over the continued progress of mankind.

Some of the protestors have threatened violence against other Hawaiians, including a Hawaiian teenage girl who aspires to be an astrophysicist.

The bullying isn’t coming from the TMT, it’s coming from the protestors who represent the Sovereignty Movement and the Trask sisters, who, despite their own mixed ethnicity, demonize all haoles and pine for a romantic vision of Hawaii that never actually existed.

http://www.civilbeat.com/connections/revoking-the-tmt-permits-would-be-a-huge-mistake/

http://www.maunakeaandtmt.org/

http://www.hawaiibusiness.com/thirty-meter-telescope-could-boost-hawaii-islands-economy/

http://www.civilbeat.com/connections/science-is-not-white-its-color-blind/

http://www.tmt.org/

You’re on the wrong side of history, Bill. And you’re doing humanity a great disservice with the anchor dragging.

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Jon May 20, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Ugh… Bill A and anyone else who posts on this thread must realize you will never ever ever ever win against this guy. He loves telescopes, science, and having the last word like nobody’s business. Now watch, he will attack me for just plain being tired of his yapping. Reminds me of Geoff Page (who I actually sorta like, but he never knows when to quit). Oh blogosphere…. How I love you and hate you all in the same keystroke.

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Jeff May 21, 2015 at 12:57 pm

Jon,

Maybe you noticed that Bill A addressed me, not you, directly. I was notified of this via an email, otherwise I would not have been aware of the reply at all.

When you’re done throwing your tantrum and are ready to reengage a mature, adult discussion on the topic be sure to let me know. I’ll likely be prompted by another email.

Or just let it go. No one is compelling or forcing you to read these comments.

It’s a sensitive topic that merits thoughtful discussion. Engage or disengage. The choice is yours. But don’t be a whiny bitch about it if you can help it.

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