I normally ignore the folks at Planet Gore (The National Review’s “environmental” blog). Well, ignore them is probably the wrong word. I read Planet Gore, but I just don’t bother responding to the sophomoric dialogue that passes for commentary on the site because who has the time? But today we have been treated to such a gem of idiocy and buffoonery that it cannot go unanswered.
As you may have heard, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) just announced that one of their survey teams has identified a large population of heretofore unknown western lowland gorillas—up to 125,000, in fact. To put that number in some perspective, the entire population of western lowland gorillas was recently assumed to be about 50,000. Cause for celebration, right? Not to folks at Planet Gore. Writing this morning about WCS’s find, Greg Pollowitz snarks: “It looks like ‘scientists’ have totally botched the count of the number of gorillas left in the world.” Then he says that “This is the same WCS that helped count polar bears to list them as threatened...Maybe a visit to the Arctic to actually count the polar bears should be in order.”
Now, as should be apparent to even a causal observer, estimating the population of any two organisms, much less large mammals as different as jungle-living gorillas and ice-dwelling polar bears is a vastly different exercise and one has very little do to with the other. But even that’s somewhat besides the point. Pollowtiz isn’t even making a coherent argument. It was WCS that found the additional gorillas, so the fact that they contributed data which informed the polar bear population estimate should, if anything, bolster it’s credibility not subtract from it. And besides, what is the larger point Pollowitz is trying to make here? That the biologists who did the original gorilla estimates weren’t real “scientists” because there turns out to have been an undiscovered population? That population estimates of wildlife are never to be trusted? In that case no endangered wildlife populations could ever be protected…oh, well maybe that’s his point after all.