Sunday, October 13, 2019

Eric Schwennesen: Endurance Part Deux

The most essential facet of true science is precision. It begins with defined terms; semantic precision. Without it, as Isaac Newton has shown, there can be no science and no progress. It is the first and foremost task of any scientist to fully define every term, to create the medium in which intelligent discussion can proceed. 

Range (Resource) Management is widely based upon grazing and its effects; therefore it is logical to begin with an unambiguous definition of "grazing". At the time of this writing, none exists -- or rather, none has been universally sanctioned by the entities claiming jurisdiction around the world. This brings up a question: doesn't this mean that there can be no science and no progress? A cynic would answer by nodding, looking at the results of the applied management around the world.

A valid definition would have to apply to every possible case, with the same result, regardless of the investigator. Technicians (of what?) scoff at the idea; yet that is the basis of all known science.

A casual look around at what is urged on us as modern "science" reveals that there is very little science at all. Much of the reason for this is an urgent human temptation to magnify what we like, and diminish what we don't like -- and in no time we have arrived (again) at the Dark Ages, where what people were expected to believe depended on the ability to persuade: truth was believed to be a relative term. 

Sound familiar? A look at almost any current topic of urgency shows frantic histrionics calculated to divert listeners from truth. Experts defend their version of truth, unaware that such does not exist. Truth has no versions, and does not require experts to defend it. Doubt it? Try ignoring the expert reasons for highway designs (addressing technological truth) and see if you are affected. Now swerve across the highway into oncoming traffic (fundamental truth of the laws of mass and acceleration). Which action has provable consequences?

Back to global land management: we are still largely swerving into metaphorical oncoming traffic, somehow convinced that our interpretation of technological truth will supersede the known, proven natural laws. Whose hands are on the wheel?

Eric Schwennesen is a commercial beef rancher in the Mogollon Rim country. He grew up in Belgium, cowboyed in Nevada, and helped Navajos and many African peoples with rangeland conflicts for over 35 years. He recently published "The Field Journals: Adventures in Pastoralism" about his experiences. 

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