Tag Archives: Adélie penguins

AGW Miracle #13 On The New York Times (Oh Gould Were Art Thou?)

What’s wrong with chinstrap penguins, fur seals, krill and leopard seals? Does anybody know?

Perhaps Elizabeth Royte, Fen Montaigne or Bill Fraser do, since it almost goes without saying that “warmer winter air and sea temperatures” around the Antarctic Peninsula are a Bad Thing because (by some quasi-magical mechanism) they negatively affect lovely Adélie penguins, leaving those other species to thrive amongst our indifference.

This is exactly what I described as “AGW miracle #13” on Oct 31:

As the world gets warmer, plenty of Bad Things proliferate whilst plenty of Good Things dwindle in number or occurrence (popular species disappear whilst unpopular ones like jellyfish expand, and so on and so forth)

Hard not to notice that (just in case readers might get their attention diverted from the rapidly-vanishing Adélies) Royte/Montaigne go as far as to suggest that the brown skuas, dependent on the Adélie colonies and therefore equally doomed, exert a “Mafia-like domination” with gruesome chick-killing feeding habits. In the meanwhile, saintly Adélies “almost cut in half by leopard seals stagger back to the colony to deliver their load of krill“.

Is that an aureola I can see radiating from the Adélies’ heads? “For Fraser, the warming has a moral dimension“, we are told. One suspects, warming has a moral dimension to Montaigne and Royte as well, and the scientific or documentary value of a book like “Fraser’s Penguins” dubious to say the least. We are basically back to the XIX century, antropocentrists, looking for moral examples that involve something as absolutely nonmoral as Nature. And Stephen Jay Gould has written wonderfully complete essays against that very idea, for nothing.